Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 15 of 2015

Looking through Christmas pictures got me in a picture-y mood. You know I love me a good picture. So as a way of saying goodbye to a wonderful year, I wanted to share my favorite fifteen picture of 2015. Hold onto your socks cause there were some great ones.

Squeaks turned one and we found out we were expecting!
Squeaks playing outside this summer. The picture I used to tell Josh we were having a boy!
We finalized Squeaks adoption. Squeaks cuddling her favorite stuffed animals in her crib.
Squeaks' sticker obsession reached new heights. Even found one under my growing belly. Cuddling both my babies at once.
Beautiful girl. One of my favorite pictures of Squeaks. Our family of four before Little Dude arrived.
Ready to pop! He's here and perfect!
Our first family picture together. Squeaks loves her brother.
Our happy boy. Excited to see what the new year brings!

Low Key Christmas

I'm a mother of two small children. New Years Eve shenanigans for me consist of bath times, and rocking the littles to sleep. Party on. I currently have Little Dude wrapped in one arm and decided to use my one free arm to write a very late Christmas post.

As the title states, it was a relaxed Christmas. I don't think we traveled more than ten miles from home as both our parents live pretty close to us. Christmas Eve was celebrated at Josh's parent's house. We ate great food (my mom's albondigas soup. Yum!) and played our traditional white elephant game. Josh's sister was the lucky recipient of my gift. My stockpile of nipple cream. People kept giving it to me while I was pregnant, apparently anticipating sore nipples from breastfeeding, but I never needed it. Gotta share the wealth. 

Christmas morning we spent at home. Squeaks enjoyed ripping gifts opened, but enjoyed throwing all the paper away afterward even more as she happily sang "clean up, clean up, clean up." This kid... After enjoying a bacon and eggs breakfast, and reading the Christmas story from Luke, we headed back to the in-laws house to exchange gifts with them. Squeaks favorite gift was a Sit and Spin, and Little Dude watched the wrapping paper carnage happily from Nana's lap. Next, we were off down the road to my parents house where we spent the majority of the day. Squeaks loved her new toy kitchen and train set, and my moms talented crafting skills showed through in many gifts this year. She really out did herself. Later that night we all came back to our house and had our annual screening of Christmas Story. A happy ending to a happy day.

I love the way our family celebrates. Memorable, relaxed, and always remembering why we get to celebrate in the first place. God is good.

And now, my favorite part, pictures.
From left to right, top to bottom: Squeaks picking gifts from under our tree. My parents in their popper hats and "pugly" Christmas sweaters. Squeaks on Papa's lap during Christmas Eve service at church. Squeaks opening gifts with daddy Christmas morning. Josh's sister with her nipple cream selection. Little Dude with great grandma Nan Sue. Squeaks enjoying pancakes with Papa Christmas morning. Squeaks saying "cheese" on Christmas Eve. Squeaks on her Sit and Spin. Little Dude relaxing on my parent's floor on Christmas Day. Me, my, brother, and Little Dude. My mom talking to Little Dude.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Three Months

Little Dude is three months old as of last Sunday! Yes, they grow fast, and the second one grows twice as fast. At least that's what it feels like. Getting monthly pictures with him is more difficult that it was with Squeaks. First off, I could take my time picking her outfit for the picture, and take as many pictures as she would let me. I could even wait for the time of day when the light in my living room is best for picture taking. Now that I have two of them, I find time to do his monthly picture whenever I can, he wears whatever he has on, and Squeaks crawls all over the both of us between shots. It's fantastic and hilarious chaos. I refuse to let his keepsakes suffer just cause he came second though. I've documented so much of Squeaks' life and I want him to have the same benefits of those memories. So here we go. Little Dude's three month picture, and a few fun ones with big sister.
He kept falling over, and she refused to wear pants. Lol! Kids.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Postpartum World: Breastfeeding

Little Dude is just under three months old now and I feel like things are starting to even out finally.
Postpartum was difficult in many ways (although, obviously totally worth it), and we still have a ways to go.

The day after LD was born we were sitting in our hospital room listening to the doctor's final instructions. I remember her saying "It took nine months to grow the kid and it'll take about that long for you to feel fully normal again too." I thought "Yikes!", no one had ever told me it would take that long. At this point, three months in, I think she was right. There are so many aspects of the postpartum experience that either we just don't talk about, nobody told me, or are just part of our individual family life.

The physical hurdles are obviously a part of postpartum. Pinterest is loaded with tips and tricks to "help you survive" (I might have even pinned some). It's not as dramatic as all that but it has definitely been a challenge for me. I won't share every detail because some are quite private but a few I'll give details on for the sake of sharing knowledge. 

Firstly, I'd like to apologize to any mother I've ever judged for having a "difficult breastfeeding experience". In times past I would think "Difficult?! Come on, suck it up, stick the kid on your boob and grit your teeth through the pain. It's what's best for your child." I know, soooo compassionate. Now I know the pain involved in early breastfeeding isn't the only difficult part. In fact I struggled so much our first night home, I ended up calling my friend Kristi (an L&D nurse) at about 5am and asking her to come help me because Little Dude WOULD NOT stay latched on. He screamed bloody murder for hours, squirming, and wiggling, taking only a few gulps before pulling off. My beautiful friend rushed to my rescue (as she has done before) and showed me a few different positions that helped immensely. Football hold has been a favorite lately. Finding a comfortable way to latch him on my right side has been challenging because of my hand too. That's an issue I kinda saw coming though. Just like with every two-handed skill I need to learn, it just takes time.

Our breastfeeding trials didn't completely end right there, but things sure got easier as far as latching went. Then I discovered I had an unusually aggressive let down. LD would be chugging away and then he'd suddenly start choking and coughing. It wasn't till I started pumping again (donating milk to another adoptive momma) that I noticed how fast my milk came out when it let down. At least 15-20 strong streams! Poor kid was getting sprayed in the back of the throat! At first I thought about switching him to bottles (only one stream instead of a dozen) and pumping exclusively, but after some research and thought, I decided it wasn't the right choice for us and I really wanted the connection and bonding that breastfeeding offers. Thankfully I noticed that my right side isn't nearly as strong as my left, so if I haven't felt a let down prior to feeding, I start him off on the right boob. Feeding in a reclined position also helps sometimes too, so the milk has to travel up stream a little. Little Dude also seems to be getting use to it as he grows too.

Squeaks has shown interest in brothers meal time too. She'll watch and ask inquisitively "Shoopie?" which is Squeaks-speak for smoothie (she gets one with breakfast every morning). We'll answer and say "Yep, brother is drinking his shoopie." Haha! I've even caught her trying to breastfeed her favorite stuffed animals. She's such a sweet little momma.

To be continued. Next up, COLIC!

As you can see from those beautiful chubby cheeks, he's definitely getting enough to eat.
Squeaks breastfeeding Ebola Bear (so named due to his disease like spots) boppy pillow and all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Yep, just now getting to my Thanksgiving post. But wouldn't-ya-know-it, it's because of all the things I'm thankful for that it's taken me this long. Kids, family, a life full of love and God's grace. 

We spent Thanksgiving day at my in-laws house. My parents and brother joined us there. We did our traditional go around the table to say what we're thankful for (took some time since there were about 20 of us). It's always lovely to experience the level of gratitude in our family because we truly are blessed and have so much to be grateful for. 

Squeaks chewed down this year. She was totally into the food and even got seconds of some things. She always has the best time at family gatherings. The amount of attention she gets is mind blowing. When we arrive she's taken from my arms (very willingly) by one family member or another and I generally hear very little from her the rest of the day because she's off playing. She sleeps very well after family events. Little dude wasn't as thrilled to be passed around as Squeaks is. He went to about three people before he passed out in Aunt Patty's arms and then spent the rest of our stay in his wrap on my chest asleep. He'll enjoy it more next year.

All together a wonderful day!
Squeaks enjoying her Thanksgiving meal, Little Dude asleep in his wrap, and our dads carving the turkeys.

Squeaks coloring and enjoying the fire pit with Aunt Jamie and cousin Jessie. The back patio of my in-laws house has been the scene of many happy family events and fits our large family Thanksgiving table well.
The only photo I got of Squeaks' Thanksgiving dress, a gift from my mom. Little Dude and I enjoyed the warm fire pit while everyone played LCR.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Generally Exhausted But Happy

I'm so behind!!! And I really miss blogging on a regular basis but such is life with two under two. I am a very busy lady and postpartum has really kicked my butt. Don't worry, no depression, just....other stuff.

Little Dude is already ten weeks! 

Squeaks will be two in less than two months!

Life is flying by.

At this moment dinner is bubbling away on the stove, my sweet boy is strapped to my chest via sling, and Squeaks is enthralled in her favorite bee-related TV show. As soon as Josh walks in the door we will have dinner and begin our nightly routine of family time, bath time, bed time, and then grown-up Bible time (should Little Dude's colic allow). Life is wonderfully and comfortably predictable at the moment. I am generally exhausted. Josh is  generally exhausted. We are in the early stages of parenthood with all its ups and downs. We test limits and set boundaries daily (testing mostly done by Squeaks). I try to remind myself that when Squeaks asks to be picked up for the millionth time that day or Little dude refuses to be put down, it could be the last time. So I saver the diaper changes, the spit up, the cuddles, the bedhead, and I tell myself to slow down and pay attention. My children are growing and happy, and we are blessed.

A few of my recent favorite pictures. Although it says "gives big smiles" on his board he will rarely smile for the camera. I promise his smile could light a room.

She loves holding him. He doesn't love so much.


She get more beautiful by the day.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

Halloween with two kids under two years old means buying costumes the week of and hoping the 22 month-old is willing to wear it. It worked out pretty well. The only part of her bee costume she refused to wear was the headband. Little dude briefly wore his caterpillar costume, but since it was in the high 80s here and his costume was pretty warm, he didn't stay in it long. Kind of a bummer cause it was so cute.

A few days before Halloween we took our annual trip to the pumpkin patch and had a blast picking out mini pumpkins for the kids and taking lots of pictures. 

The day before Halloween, a good friend invited the kids to go "table-side trick-or-treating" at a local retirement home and it was so cute. I'm sure this will be a yearly event now. Watching the little ones interact with the older residents was so sweet. Squeaks got quite the bucket full of candy, however we don't let her eat sugar so I did a stealth snack switch for healthier options and she didn't even notice. She was very happy with her granola bars, crackers, and raisins. 

On Halloween night we went to our church's harvest festival. Squeaks was more interested in the hay bales then in playing many of the games, and Little Dude slept through the whole thing, but it was fun to see all the other costumes.

Overall a very fun start to the holiday season!

One Month (Kinda)

Little Dude is a week away from being two months old (already!?) and I realized I never shared his one month pictures. Gotta keep the tradition alive! Big sister Squeaks wanted in on the action too though. She'll be 22 months next week!! I've started planning her second birthday. It will be on a MUCH smaller scale than her first. More than likely just a family thing. I've decided to go with a "bee" theme. She's obsessed with bees! 

Little dude is growing like a weed. We're dealing with some colic (I'm planning a post on how we're getting through it), but I can tell he'll be a pretty easy baby once he grows out of it. His eyes get bluer every day and his hair never lays flat. After baths it's slightly Christopher Walken-esk. Very fluffy and straight up. It's hilarious. Other than the colic though, he eats well, is growing well, and has even started smiling this past week! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Under Construction

You may notice some changes already. It'll be a slow process but I will continue blogging! I will!! Check back often and feel free to comment on the new design (which may or may not be my final draft), or leave ideas for future post topics. Thanks for sticking with me!

Friday, September 25, 2015

And Then There Were Four

He's here and he's perfect!!

Our sweet little man. Born Sunday, September 13th, at 9:06am. 6lbs 13oz 19.5"long. Looks just like his daddy! Read his birth story here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

To Hold You Over

I'm still here. I promise, blogging is still a big love for me. Life is just going very fast right now. 

I am 37 weeks pregnant with our little dude. If you haven't been following my pregnancy blog, I've been going to three or four doctor appointments per week. Even though little dude is healthy and growing well, I'm still considered a "high risk" pregnancy on paper because of Evelyn. I go to two non-stress tests a week, an O.B. appointment once a week, and I've had multiple ultrasounds mixed in as well. Needless to say it's taken up a lot of time. Throw in trying to soak up as much Squeaks time and attention as possible before she's no longer an only child, and I'm a very busy momma. 

It's still crazy surreal that I'm pregnant. Although I obviously have never experienced adoption from a birth mother's point of view, it's my understanding that a large fear for her would be an adoptive mother who doesn't love her adopted child as much as her biological child. This is a big reason a lot of birth mothers choose families without any biological children. They want their child to be put first. Again, this is all coming from things I've read/heard. Well, I'm here to say Squeaks' birth mom has nothing to worry about. Not only do I sometimes forget I didn't give birth to Squeaks, but I'm also slightly concerned my biological child can't come close to being as awesome as she is. As with all second time moms, I wonder how my heart can expand for another child. My blond/blue eyed self and my blond/blue eyed husband could never have created this cuddly, calm, chocolate-eyed, curly-headed brunette. That said, she is also the only child I can imagine having. She was so obviously meant for us. The idea of physically producing a child that will be biologically part of me feels foreign still. I'm not concerned about loving him AT's just all very surreal. 

With my due date approaching and life being its ever busy self, I'll be taking a little blogging break. For memory sake I'll still be posting on my pregnancy blog, but some weeks I don't even get to that. When I return to Adoption Love, I'm planning some changes. As I mentioned before, I think a family blog will be more the theme instead of an adoption specific blog. After experiencing adoption and (soon to be) birth, "family" is on my heart and adoption does not define us. The future holds sibling bonding, family vacations, homeschooling, and beyond. Plus, I'm sure God has a few surprises for us too.

Until I return, here are some recent Squeaks pictures to hold you over. I know I'd go through withdrawals if I had to go too long without her, and so I will spare you all.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

2 Years

Happy second birthday Adoption Love! 

I love the Timehop app. Seeing how far we've come. How far God has carried us. I saw this post from my personal Facebook page on the app this morning and had to laugh at myself. That whole God's timing thing was really not sticking two years ago. I had it in my head that my efforts through our blog and YouTube page were going to find our future child. I'm so glad God had a plan for us. It worked out better than anything I could have ever imagined, as His plans usually do.

And yes, I probably could take over a small country. My "determination" (nice way of saying obsessiveness) is unmatched. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

One Short Of A Decade

Josh and I celebrated nine years of marriage yesterday! Sentences like "It's been wonderful" or "time flies when you're having fun" just don't fit. The past nine years have definitely had bright spots of wonderful and fun, but a lot of not so wonderful or fun too. This past year blows all previous years out of the water though. We are happy. We are tired. We are stronger. We are smarter. We are more patient. We are a family of FOUR! 

Holy cow this man drives me crazy! Absolutely batty, up the wall, mad! And I totally and completely love him for it. How boring would life be without someone to push you, stretch you, and pull you in (usually) the right direction. When he reads this, he's gonna ask "what do you mean usually?!" My sweet husband is all-knowing, and so I push his him too. *wink

Geez louise I love this man! Heart aching, toe curling love! It makes me speechless that he loves me back. Being parents changes how you see your spouse. Before kids we relied on each other for support, guidance, respect, and comfort. Now there is a little girl looking at us, watching how we communicate, how we give support. A little girl who will learn respect and feel comfort in our home. The way he cares for her grows my love for him. 

Things are about to get even more fun and crazy as our son is due in about two months. I have absolutely no reservations about Josh teaching and guiding our son because Josh is the kind of man I want our son to be. Just as he has done with our daughter, Josh will show our son Godly character, love, and wisdom. I could not ask for a better partner. 

I'm looking to forward to the rest of our lives together, come what may.

Our wedding day nine years ago. Just kids. I had just tuned 21 and neither of us knew what was ahead of us. So glad to have him with me through it all.
My wonderful husband brought me a bouquet of daisies (our wedding flowers) and took me out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. We kept things simple as kids and the recent purchase of a new car have stretched the bank. But really, I prefer simple. I love simple. Simple is my zone.
Squeaks spent the evening at Grammy's house. We loved getting text messages and pictures of their crafty activities, even at our anniversary dinner. Even when they aren't with you, your kids happiness and well-being is on your heart. I get it mom. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

18 Months

I do believe this kid gets better by the moment. I just wish the moments would go by slower! The cutest, funniest, sweetest little girl in the world is 18 months old today. I can even use these descriptive words without hesitation or bias because I am confident her cuteness/sweetness/funniness could be scientifically proven. Seriously, if her pediatrician really thought it through, not only would we get a percentage for her weight and height at checkups, but her personality could be charted for amazingness...Scratch that. It'd be off the charts!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Talk Talk Talk

Squeaks has gone verbal! Squeaks 2.0! The upgraded version. Seriously, that's what it feels like when you can ask your toddler a question, "Are you hungry?", "Do you need a new diaper?", etc, and they answer you! It makes life so much easier. And harder...but mostly easier. Only harder because she likes the word "no" a lot!

So far she can say:
blue (She loves Blue's Clues!)
please (She also does the sign language when she says it. Too cute!)
go (Usually said in threes as we're walking out the door. "Go go go!!")
bee (She loves bees! Scared the heck out of me one day when she brought me a LIVE bee out in our yard, grasped by the wings. She exclaimed happily "bee bee bee!!!" as I swatted it out of her hand. No sting though!)
daddy (The "y" still doesn't come across though, so "dadda" is closer.)
hot (Usually referring to food. She'll ask if it's hot and, if I say yes, she'll blow on it.)
cold (Said between gulps of cold water.)

There are also multiple words that only I understand. Squeaks-speak. So if you come to our house and hear my daughter say "bong?!" in a happy expectant tone, she's asking for her Bible song. Haha!

Not bad for 18 months if you ask me! Her mental vocabulary is amazing too, even if she can't verbalize it yet. The conversation she understands is incredible. One of her favorite books is My First Colors. It's pictures of items separated by color on each page. The red page has lady bugs, strawberries, an apple, etc. Green page has grass, a get the idea. Each page has quite a few items. She'll sit on my lap and I'll ask her "Where are the purple grapes?", "Where is the red umbrella?", "Where is the yellow truck?", and she'll point to each item on the page! It's tons of fun to watch her little face searching, her eyes scanning the page, and then light up when she finds the item. I love it. I've made it a personal rule of mine, if she brings me a book, or asks for a book, I'll stop what I'm doing and read it. She may have realized this because we read close to twenty books a day (sometimes multiple times). Totally worth it though. 

We've also made it a priority to enunciate our words when we talk to her. No baby talk. We still talk soft and sweet, but accurately as well. Sometimes, with new words, I'll even ask her to watch my mouth as I say it. 

In my mind these are the beginnings of home schooling. It's never too early to start. Good conversation skills are a necessity in my opinion. I can't wait for the day when I can walk into her room, cuddle up in her bed with her, and discuss the day, her thoughts, and ideas. Just like my mom did with me.
Enjoying a good book in her chair.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thank God For Real Men

The men in my life are high quality. Top shelf. Stuffed-animal-cuddling, nursery-rhyme-singing, baby-nose-wiping, manly men. What an awesome gift from God, to watch my daughter be loved by a group of men...not just one, but a whole group... 

My husband is never sexier than when he's crawling around on the floor tickling our daughter, sing to her, feeding her, holding her hand to pray, reading to her. Being Daddy. Real men sit in tiny pink chairs, kiss dolls held by their daughters tiny hands, and cut dinner into tiny pieces for tiny mouths. Thank you God for giving me a real man. Thank you God my daughter will always be loved by a real man. Thank you God that my son will learn from a real man. 

I have never questioned the love my dad has for me. He's sturdy. He's gentle. He's funny. I couldn't be happier that he married my mom. Seriously, I remember wanting to go on their honeymoon with them (I was only seven)! He gives me confidence. He makes me feel safe; at home. A hug from him is so soothing I can literally feel my heart rate slow down. Thank you God that my dad loves my mom. Thank you God that he set the bar high for my future husband. Thank you God that my dad's love is so familiar it practically runs through my veins.  

My father in law is not a loud man, but his role in his family leaves ripples like a boom of thunder. His love for his son has rippled into the love his son shows. His love for our children will ripple into their futures. Thank you God that my husband was raised by a real man. Thank you God that his love is quietly loud. 

Psalm says children are like arrows in the hands of warriors. These men will hold my children safe in the quiver, hold them firm to the word of God, point them straight, and release them to make a lasting impact on the world. Thank you God.

Real men also drink from matching father-daughter Mike Wazowski cups.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Excitingly Uneventful

I have a huge, exciting, wonderful update for you....NOTHING!

Absolutely nothing is going on right now! It has been nearly a month since I posted and nothing has happened. Boring?! Heck no! Do you know how long I waited for nothing life-altering, emotional, stressful, etc. to be happening? A looonnnggg time. We are living a blissfully normal, quiet, calm life.

Squeaks continues to grow happy and healthy. We started taking her to a kind of Gymboree-esk class every week. Her enjoyment of it comes and goes, but I think we'll stick with it. They focus on building and improving fine motor skills, social skills, strength, balance and the like. It's nice for her and I to get out of the house together and do something other than errands, and I think it'll be a nice alternative to the park on those hundred-degree California summer days. 

Our little boy kicks and kicks. Experiencing a healthy pregnancy is still very surreal and, as I look back, makes me realize just how different my pregnancy with Evelyn was. In fact, little dude, is growing so well, I'm not really considered high risk any more. We've started work on his room and planning a shower. I'll share most of the details on those events on my other blog though.

Speaking of blogging. This two separate blogs thing has been on my mind. While I feel it's appropriate since I'm treating my other blog specifically as a pregnancy blog right now, I don't want to separate them so much in the future. It feels like each kid has their own blog. Weird. So, I think after little dude's arrival in September, plans will be underway for a new family blog. Don't know what that will look like yet, but it'll be awesome of course.

And so, we live on. A life I never imagined would be this good. God has blessed our whole family and we have so many happy things to look forward to. Josh's younger sister is getting married (in September!) and so that brings party planning and excitement. We have a cousin getting married in September (!!), a cousin getting married in June, and a cousin graduating high school. Life is full, and not just with big stuff. It's the small everyday stuff that adds so much joy too. I enjoy watching Squeaks grown and learn everyday. Talking is starting! (Maybe that should be another post. It's too exciting.) I'm helping a friend redecorate her daughter's room. Josh and my mom will be starting BSF with me (in September!). I continue to volunteer with a local pregnancy center. Josh and I celebrate nine years of marriage in July. We go to Disneyland as often as possible. Seriously, life right now, compared to what it was just a few short years ago.... speechless. Is it the calm after the storm or the calm before another storm? Only God knows, but He will watch over us, provide for us, and love us no matter what.
One of my favorite pictures from mother's day this year. Isn't she just the best!?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Birth Mother's Day

The Saturday before Mother's Day is celebrated by some as Birth Mother's Day. 

Squeaks birth mom doesn't strike me as the kind of woman who would like to have a separate day to celebrate motherhood and her decision to place Squeaks for adoption. Admittedly, it has been awhile since I've been in contact with "M" (Squeak's birth mother). That's just the way things have panned out. Hopefully not a permanent thing. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Whether we speak daily, or yearly, we are connected for life and she is always in my thoughts and prayers. 

From the short time we spent together in the hospital and the contact we had the months after, I don't think "M" would find a separate day necessary. And, for my family's personal needs/emotions, I don't need a separate day either. I have absolutely nothing against the day or those who choose to celebrate Birth Mother's Day. Not. At. All. Can't say that enough. This is a totally personal opinion. (In other words, please don't be mad at me for this post.)

"M" spoke and acted like her decision was an obvious one in her mind. Not to say she never showed sadness. She did. She's a mother. Squeaks was her third child. She knows what it's like to give birth too and raise a child. I don't believe she loves Squeaks any less than she loves her two older children, so why would she need to separate the days on which she celebrates her motherhood?

I may be way off base. I may be totally wrong and I'm just putting words in "M"'s mouth. In my mind, "M" is a mother. She's Squeaks mother, no less so than I am. Just in a different way. Nothing I do in our daughter's life would mean anything without "M". 

Especially now, as I feel my son move inside me, the strength and love Squeaks' birth mom showed in placing her for adoption blows my mind. Being pregnant again has stirred up emotions for "M" that I never want to forget. Emotions I don't think I'll ever be able to put into words. Imagine splitting your mothering world in half. The world where you are physically and spiritually connected to your child before seeing their face, and the world where your heart walks around outside your body as you nurture your child's growth. Separate those two parts of motherhood into two people. It's difficult and beautiful and painful and otherworldly. To separate my celebration of her into a day apart from "mine" just doesn't feel right. In fact to give her only one day a year doesn't feel right either. 
Happy Mother's Day "M".

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pride Goeth Before Sleepless Nights

I was proud of how well Squeaks slept. Most nights she would go down at her usual bedtime of 8:30pm and not wake up till 7:30 the next morning when Josh and I started making noise getting ready for the day. Eleven hours straight! A "rough" night would happen here and there with one or to wake ups. I'd rock her back to sleep, no need to feed or change her, and she'd go right back down after about twenty or thirty minutes. Seriously amazing and I totally understand, not the norm for a fifteen-month old.

We have a very specific bedtime routine. Around 7:30 we make the house a little quieter, turn down lights and noise. At 8:00 she goes in a warm bath with a half cup of Epsom salts (magnesium is great for sleep) and a few drops of lavender oil. Daddy does bath time these days since I'm getting bigger and have a bit less bend in the middle. She's out of the tub by 8:15 and into jammies  and a night time diaper (a BumGenius pocket diaper stuffed with a a Flip organic cotton night time insert. Has never leaked!). Once she has her budgie (what we call her pacifier), and we do a bit of rocking and snuggling, she's generally out in ten to fifteen minutes. I always felt like super mom walking out of her room each night. My kid sleeps great! I must be doing something right! Go me!

About two weeks ago (not long after I had bragged about our "perfected bed time routine") it all went to hell. From the moment I'd close the door to her room, she'd flip out. Crying, arching her back, wouldn't close her eyes no matter how much I rocked her, and forget putting her in her crib, she'd just scream bloody murder! Way to take me down a peg or two kid! Nothing had changed. Our routine had even worked while she was cutting four molars (with a dose of Infant Motrin here and there). Literally NOTHING had changed! Josh and I were stumped. It took forever to get her to sleep and then she started waking up multiple times a night and took hours to fall asleep again. It wreaked havoc on her nap time schedule and my ability to function on a daily basis.

We tried everything we could think of, and everything other people could think of. I switched her nightlight, rearranged items that may be causing scary shadows in the dark, white noise, giving her the shirt I wore that day so she'd have my smell for comfort, teething tablets, more lavender oil...EVERYTHING!

Finally we tried something a friend had tried with her daughter. We took the front of her crib off and made it a toddler bed. We were both pretty nervous about it. She would be able to get out of bed on her own! Would she fall out or try to climb over the safety rail? But we tried it. The second she saw her new bed (I took the front off a few hours before bed time so she could see it and get used to it) she loved it! She started climbing in and out bringing toys back and forth with her, squealing with joy the whole time. This could work.

It's been about five days since we switched her bed and things have definitely improved. She still doesn't go down quite as easily, and has still gotten up once or twice at night a few times. But! She slept eleven hours straight again last night! It was like the good old days!

I have been told now by several moms that this is normal. It's called sleep regression. Our "fix" (although not really a "fix" as much as a "help") might not work for everyone, but maybe it'll help some tired, end-of-her-rope, mom out there. Just an FYI though, be prepared for them to get out of bed, but not cry. The first night we tried this Squeaks went exploring around her room. Her bedroom door is closed at night and she can't work doorknobs yet, thankfully. When we went to check on her in the morning she had ended up on the other side of the room asleep on the floor by her rocking chair. She hadn't even cried! I think she just got up, went for a little walk, and then curled up on the floor! Silly kid!

Anyway, long post. It's been a long few weeks. Sweet dreams.
Happy sleepy girl in her big girl bed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Snakes, Snails, And Puppy Dog Tails

That's what little BOYs are made of! Can't wait to meet Squeaks' little brother! We have a SON!!!
Read more here if you'd like!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It Is Finished

What a weekend it was! Our family seems to lump important happy events around Easter. I think this is fitting considering the newness, hope, joy, and undeserved grace Easter represents. Why do I get to be so happy, so blessed?! Only by the grace of God! 

Three years ago on Easter we announced our intentions to adopt. Two years ago I heard a special promise and our daughter came into existence. Last year was Squeak's first Easter and first big family gathering. This year, the day after Easter, we got to celebrate the end of the paper work, legal fees, and phone calls. The end of the adoption process. We got to go to court and have the judge tell us what we've known since the day our daughter was placed into our arms by her birth mother. She is our daughter. 

I absolutely love how this little girl's life has seemed to revolve around this awesome day! As Christ sets the ultimate example of adoption by giving His life to pay for our sins, our daughter's birth family placed her life in our hands sacrificing their own desires in order to give her the best life possible. We wholeheartedly, from the very beginning, have accepted our daughter into our lives and hearts and nothing can separate her from our love, just as we can not be separated from His love. We love because He first loved us.  
You don't have to ask us twice!

The actual court process was super quick. When we arrived at the courthouse, we had to wait in the hall with other families waiting to finalize. We by far had the largest group. When they called our name we all excitedly filed into the courtroom, where the judge invited us up front with our lawyer, and our families into the jury box. We were sworn in, and the judge informed our cheering section that now was the time to grill us as we were under oath. Haha, judge humor! We were asked a series of super easy questions. "Do you promise to love her?" YES! "Is there any reason this adoption shouldn't be finalized?" NO! And with the reading of Squeaks full LEGAL name we applauded, hugged, cried, and took lots of pictures. We continued the celebration with lunch at B.J.'s, where they gave us free appetizers when they found out what we were celebrating. We had a lovely time eating, talking, and sitting in wonder of the awesome little human being God has blessed our family with.  
We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people to celebrate with. Squeaks is incredibly loved!

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Very Squeaky Update

I figured it was time for a Squeaks update! Seeing as how I haven't posted anything specifically about her since her birthday in January. 

It amazes me every day how smart this kid is getting. If you ask her "where's your nose?", she'll point to it! She also knows where her mouth, eyes, hair, ears, and bellybutton are too! 

We've also started playing with some flash cards that pair a picture of an item with the spelled out word. The box said ages 3+ but I don't care. So far she's pretty good at finding a picture of an item if I ask her for it, but she's still not familiar enough with the corresponding word to match them together. I can see the wheels in her head turning when I match them and read them for her though.

She'll bring me book after book to read over and over...and over. Most of her favorites I can recite by heart.

She's loving the freedom I've started giving her outside. For the longest time she refused to wear shoes. But once she gave in and realized she could walk more places with them on, she now brings me her shoes or tries to put them on herself, and points to the backyard. She's a very steady walker now and rarely crawls (mostly just to go up or down steps). She'll wander around the yard collecting rocks and picking flowers and then proudly bring me her treasures.
Playing ball with Diamond.
Shoes in general have become a fascination of hers. She's particularly fond of the monster feet that went with her Halloween costume.
Dinner in monster feet. It's the only way to eat pasta.
Inside, some of her favorite activities are taking the clothes out of the dresser as I put them in, taking everything out of Daddy's night stand, playing in our pantry (which usually includes taking all the tea bags out of the boxes), and "helping" me load the dish washer. I have to be super careful with the dishwasher cause she likes to sneak things in when I'm not looking. I accidentally washed her digital baby thermometer the other day cause she figured out it fit nicely among the dirty silverware. A similar fate almost came to a tube of chap-stick, but I caught it in time.
Wish I knew what was so fascinating about the boxes of tea.
She continues to have a sweet and silly disposition, in-spite of cutting four molars at once (bringing the total teeth count to 12). Other than the occasional drool, gnawing of fingers, and slight crankiness, she's a peach. 
We have perfected our bed time routine, and most nights she sleeps 11 hours straight, with one nap during the day. Plus, she pretty much eats anything we eat. Josh and I find ourselves hoping that our biological child is as awesome as our adopted one. Ha! Could we be so blessed!!?
Sweet silly girl.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

30 Years

I am 30 years old. Wow. My twenties went by really fast, and not at all as I planned them.

My birthday itself was a ton of fun this year. We used my birthday party to announce our pregnancy to extended family, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, and went to Disneyland the following day. I wouldn't change anything about my birthday. I couldn't have asked for anything better, or for better people to spend it with. 

I'm not terribly thrilled with the number itself, however I'm really looking forward to seeing what God has planned for the next ten years. That's right. What God has planned. I've said it before, I have no idea what's coming next, and I like it. Truly, if I could go back in time and talk to my twenty year old self, that might be my number one piece of advice. Stop planning crap!!!! Life will happen. God will be in control. Stop thinking you have any say in it! I'm all for prudent preparation, health insurance, savings/retirement accounts, etc. There are obviously some things in life that take a little planning. However, there are some things in life that are totally out of our hands and completely in God's. I think this realization is going to make my thirties much smoother than my twenties. I'm up for whatever God wants to bring our way, and Josh feels the same. 

God has allowed very hard things to happen to us (notice I didn't say He caused the hard things), but He has brought us through and blessed us greatly. I wouldn't change a single thing about how the past years have unfolded. NOT A SINGLE THING. Yes I miss Evelyn, yes not having a left hand is frustrating sometimes, and yes infertility has its own special sting, but all of these things make me me. If Evelyn had lived she would have been a blessing to say the least, loved beyond words. But since she didn't I got to experience the world of breast milk donation, make lifelong friends through it, grow closer to my husband, family, and God, and gained a scar on my heart that matches thousands of other women's hearts. I can rejoice with those women that our babies are with their King, and cry with them when we need to. It's a part of this world that shouldn't exist, but I'm proud to know the women who exist in it and make it through life anyway.

Losing my left hand seems like small potatoes. Frankly, I'm glad it's gone. I think I would have been a vain, impatient, wretch with it. And that's all I have to say about that.

Infertility totally sucks! It puts a marriage to the test like no other. It make you question what it is to be a woman. It bleeds you dry financially and emotionally. If you let it. Oh man does it have a purpose though! All I have to do is look at my daughter and I could fall on my face in sheer gratitude for infertility. And again, I do believe I would be a vain, self-reliant wretch of a pregnant woman right now if I didn't understand the unbelievable miracle that  had to occur to get me pregnant a second time.

Yes, yes, yes, my thirties will contain hard and trying life challenges. I am still human. But come what may, my God is BIG. Bigger than loss, bigger than pain, bigger than death. And He will not leave me no matter how wretched I am.
Celebrating at my 30th birthday party with family.
Disneyland for mom's birthday!

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