Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear 2010,

I feel like I'm writing an obituary for someone I love dearly. You are gone now, but I need to express my strong feelings for you, so I'm writing you this letter.

When you first came around, I wasn't expecting much. You started pretty dully, just my husband and I preparing pictures for our adoption profiles, preparing ourselves for a long wait. My mom was in the middle of a messy divorce (it was finalized, but she was still in the middle of the messy emotions). My sister was pregnant with my nephew, and just about to pop. My little cousin ("nephew") was a newborn, and my niece was just two days old when you first showed up. I was up to my elbows in other people's babies, and dealing with all the raw, ugly emotions that we infertiles have to wallow through in such situations. I was working a lot, and working an extra job to make money for the adoption. I was also taking my licensing exam to start work as a realtor, to also make more money for the adoption. I was soon to be working 4 jobs total, and that alone made you look like a daunting year.

Like I said, I didn't have high hopes for you. Sorry about that. I guess I should learn not to jump to conclusions.

Boy did you make me wrong. You have proven yourself to be one of the best years of my life, mainly for one reason. You were the year that made me a Mommy. March rolled around, and BOOM... my life was changed. We were matched, and you started to seem grand! Granted, there was still a lot of time for things to go wrong, but you just kept proving to be a better year than I could have dreamed.

When things started to get dicey, you always seemed to perk up. One minute, we would think things were rough... and then suddenly, something good happened. Once July rolled around, and our baby was laid in our arms, I knew you were truly something special. And, in November, when all was finalized... I could have just squealed with joy (and I probably did...) Wow, were you great!

Okay... so, you weren't all good. You are probably the most unhealthy year of my life. I have been sick so many times since you showed up. I've probably had 5 colds, a strange fever, a kidney infection, a UTI, a horrible antibiotic associated infection that has proven to be a bear to overcome, and 40 days worth of antibiotics. Not to mention, I had a number of my usual headaches. I was so unhealthy this year, in fact, that I was horribly sick the day my daughter was born. Remember that? Funny joke... heh.

But, despite all that, I met my daughter with you. And that makes you pretty daggone special in my book. I watched her see your seasons change for the first time. I watched her celebrate five whole months of her life with you. Five brilliant, gleaming, exciting months!

Oh, 2010, it's going to be hard to top becoming a first time mommy, but I have high hopes for the years that will follow you. They have a lot to live up to, but sharing those coming years alonside my husband and baby make me so excited for our future. Please know, as we celebrate Meerkat's first birthday in 2011, and as we watch her reach major milestones this year, that we will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remember you. We will talk about you forever. You were a "landmark year." Thank you for restoring my happiness, my hope, and my love for life.

God bless you, 2010. May others remember you as fondly as I will.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sick... again...

Sorry I've been so lax in posting, but I've been busy and sick. The semester is over now, though, and I find myself with more free time. However, I am still sick. I've been sick now for over a month. I've been going back and forth to the doctor, and I've been on antibiotics for thirty days. I'm about to start another course.

If you pray, or send good vibes, or hope, or wish, please do one of those things for me. I can't take this much longer. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

5 Months!

Dear Meerkat,

See that picture up there? That's you this whole month - happy, happy, happy!!! Just when I think we've reached the "golden age" of babydom, you just get more fun! You smile all the time. You laugh so much. Every time Mommy and Daddy say "Hi Baby" in our high-pitched, baby-talk voice, you smile so big. This month you learned how to not just squeal with delight, but scream in delight, and you're delighted so often. You will just lay in your bed in the mornings, before we come in and get you, and squeal and scream and coo.

You've been content virtually the entire month. Though, yesterday, you did have a strange bout of screaming for no apparent reason. You just suddenly got a sad little puppy face and then started crying like a banshee. It was late, and we weren't home, so we think you were just extremely tired. I picked you up to comfort you and you snuggled your tear soaked face into my neck. I could cuddle with you all day long.

Mommy and Daddy had a week off work this month for Thanksgiving break, and OH MY! were we enjoying our time with you. It was so nice to wake up every morning and see your smiling face. We started to notice you followed a pretty strict nap schedule, even though we didn't put you on one. You are usually awake for 2-3 hours and then you sleep for an hour or two, and so on, until nightfall.

You still only drink every 4 hours, but you're up to six ounces at a feeding. And... you tried rice cereal for the first time this month! We started by feeding you rice cereal once every few days for the first couple weeks of the month. But now, we give it to you at dinner time, every night.

In the next couple weeks, we will start giving you oatmeal in the morning and rice cereal at night. We won't start veggies and fruits until six months. You love your rice cereal, though you were a little unsure of it at first. And still, if you're feeling a bit too hungry, you want your bottle more than the cereal, so I'll give you some of your bottle first, and then finish off the cereal.

But, your appetite isn't the only thing that started to grow this month. Your hair is starting to get very long! It's really curly, and only growing in the front top section of your head, but it's so cute!

You've learned a few new things this month. You rolled from tummy to back for the first time the other day, but you only did it once, and didn't do it again. It was like you just wanted to show us you knew how, but that you don't see the necessity.
Also, you've started reaching for things. You just suddenly became aware of the fact that you could hold things in your hands. One day you just decided to play with the little bird hanging from your carseat, and now you play with everything. If we put something in front of you, you grab it. You love to try to put things in your mouth, but you haven't quite mastered the motor skills to make this task easy. You can usually get things there with a bit of trial and error. You love to take your paci out of your mouth and then try to put it back in. Usually, you'll get it there, but you won't take your hand away fast enough, and you end up dropping it on the floor.

You found your feet too! You love to play with them, but you can't get them in your mouth yet. You play with them a lot.

My sweet girl, I hope that you always approach life with the enthusiasm of your fifth month. Life can be a blast! It's moments like the ones we share with you that make me feel so full of energy and life. I can't wait to spend all of December and half of January at home with you! Thank God for this job that allows me that possibility. I love you so much!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful... (There really is some thankfulness in this post. Just wait for it...) :)

I've always enjoyed the holiday season. I love turkey; I love gravy; I love dessert; I love trimming the tree; I love opening and giving presents; etc. etc. etc. But, there's always been a part of me that dreads certain holiday moments.

My family has a tradition of going around the dining table and telling everyone what we are thankful for. Not that I'm ungrateful, but this part of Thanksgiving has been a struggle for me since the day I learned of my infertility. Of course I was grateful for my family, my job, yadda yadda. But, all of that paled in comparison to the deeper feelings I carried inside me. Even hearing my parents say "I'm thankful for my three beautiful children" sent daggers into my heart. Silly, right? I mean, of course they're thankful for their children, and I wouldn't expect them to feel otherwise! But, just thinking that I might not ever get to say those words was enough to send me reeling internally.

And Christmas time... well, let's just say there are certain aspects of Christmas that made it difficult... namely Mary. Yeah, you heard me right - Mary, mother of Jesus. I mean, COME ON GOD! Mary can get pregnant and doesn't even have to bat an eyelash. No man needed. Just sit, get visited by an angel, BOOM - PREGNANT! If that's not enough to make an infertile woman cringe, I don't know what is.

I hid it well enough. I'd give my thanks and then settle right into normal dinnertime conversation; I'd go to church, or read the Christmas story, but under my skin I was crawling with resentfulness to God. Who does he think he is? Why did that girl in my dorm get pregnant and toss her newborn baby into the dumpster to die? What did I do to be cursed so bad?

There are plenty of women out there struggling this holiday season, in the same way that I struggled every holiday for the past ten years. It breaks me to think of that. I almost didn't post this blog, because so many of my "blog" friends are still living with the sting of infertility. And, I know how much it drove me CRAZY! to hear people try to cheer me up, or tell me their happy stories. Every so often, I would share my pain with people, and I would get told "you'll get your baby someday" or "It's all in God's hands" or "One day you will have quite a testimony." My mom was the worst offender. And everytime she made a comment like this it just made my skin crawl. I tried to explain to her why I didn't want to hear it. It's like going up to someone who's just taken a bullet to the gut and saying "Don't worry, one day you won't feel that pain anymore, and then you'll have quite a testimony." Yeah, great... ONE DAY... SOME DAY... those words do not heal the pain of TODAY... RIGHT NOW!!!! Every part of me was screaming in pain on the inside, but I had to smile and nod and go home in a foul mood.

I knew they were right. Obviously, the pain would go away once I was healed of my problem. Right? I wouldn't still ache the way I did to carry a child when I was holding one in my arms. Right?

Yes, and no. I've healed. I am able to look forward to holidays now, and I am happier than I've ever been. But, I'm forever changed by my experience with infertility. Every so often, those phantom pains strike me... not the "I want to be a mommy" pains. That wound is closed up, never to be opened again. But now, there is a strange pang of guilt where the pain used to be. I feel bad spreading my happiness around on the internet for people who are struggling like I was to see. I feel guilty that I ever harbored such resentment to God. I feel guilty that I felt so horrible on holidays that I was spending with people I love. I feel guilty that I was ever jealous of someone else's child/pregnancy. And, I feel guilty that those feelings creep in every so often still. Yes, I have a child who I love more than life itself. But, I am still infertile; I still can't get pregnant; I still have to jump through a million hoops to bring my daughter a brother or sister.

But, (and this is the part where you might want to stop reading if you don't want to hear a bunch of mooshy, gooshy thankfulness) my mom was right. And I knew she was, even then... I just couldn't deal with it then. I am grateful this year... for so many things.

  • Meerkat -- How can I possibly express to you the thankfulness I feel for you? I've tried, on numerous occassions to put my love for you into words, but none of them can quite express the way I feel. I LOVE you! Don't ever ever doubt that for one second. You are the reason I'm baking this holiday season. You're the reason I want to get a real tree instead of our dollar store version. You're the reason I almost stood up in the church the other day to "give my testimony" (and believe me, that's saying something). You, my little fuzzy girl, are the reason that I'm smiling so big this year. I am more thankful for you than I know how to say.

  • My husband -- Wow! I love you! You've been a rock for me to lean on so many times during our relationship. You've helped me get through some things that I know were even difficult for you to get through. I love the way you look at me. I love the way you speak to me. I love everything about you. You've given me so much joy these last several years. I can't imagine my life without you. There is no better husband on this planet, and I'm 100% sure of that. We don't fight. We have fun. We share so much love. You're the best father I've ever seen. You share in all the housework and duties. And, I know that this seems natural to you, but there are so many men who are not like you. I really found my hidden treasure when I found you.

  • Infertility -- While I hate you, infertility. While I want to kick you in your no-no spot, I'm thankful for you this year. Without you, infertility, I wouldn't have my baby girl. And, if it took going through all that pain to get to this baby, I'd do it again 10,000,000,000 times.
  • A -- You are so thoughtful. You've sent us pictures of Meerkat's half-brother and sister. You've kept in contact with us. You've given us the gift of parenthood. I am so very thankful for you this, and every, year. I hope that you are having a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Our thoughts are constantly with you. <3

  • Family -- I have a pretty unique family. They keep things interesting. I'm so grateful that I have them in my life. My brother, my sister, my mom, my grandma, my mother and father in-law, my brothers and sisters in-law, my nieces, my nephews -- I'm so grateful for you all. I love you with all of my heart. You make life enjoyable, just by being so dog-gone funny and sweet.

  • Father -- this is a unique one, and he gets his own category. Dad, there are aspects of you and your life that I'm not thankful for, but you know that. It should come as no surprise to you that I'm angry for some of the things you've put our family through. But, I'm thankful this year. I am thankful that you are not drinking right now... and I hope that continues. I'm thankful that you have been being nice to mom... I'm thankful that you're getting to see your grandchildren. Please know somewhere in your heart that I'm thinking of you always. Yes, I'm mad at you. That won't change. But, I'm thankful you're my dad.

  • The standards -- Job, health (when I'm in good health), and home. I'm very happy that I have all of these things. They sure do make life a lot more liveable. :)

Now, let's get these holidays started. I'm ready to make up for lost time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Four Month Stats!

Weight: 15 lbs. 2 oz.
Length: 25 1/4 inches
Head Circumfrence: 16.5 inches
(She also just tried rice cereal for the first time recently. You can tell by the picture how happy she was about it.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4 Months!

Dear Meerkat:

Well, you're four months old now! Actually, you turned four months old a few days ago, but as has been tradition since the day you were born, mommy was VERY sick on your four month birthday. I had a fever of 102, chills, nausea, aches, headache... the whole shebang. The doctor said it was related to the infection. It still hasn't cleared up. But - I'm feeling much better today. Anyway, let's stop talking about Mommy and start talking about you.

You're amazing! Every day, you just get smarter and smarter. I truly think we're in the "golden age" of babydom right now. You're so happy, all the time. Even after you have slept 10-12 straight hours without eating. That's right - 12 hours!!!! You are such a good little sleeper. You go to bed around 8-10 every evening, and you'll sleep until 8am or later. Then, when you wake up, you just lay there looking around until someone picks you up. That's when the smiles begin. You act like you've missed us so much all night, and you just smile and coo. Then, you have your bottle and play for a couple hours. Then you nap. And, the cycle continues.

Something we love is when you stretch so hard that your little legs stiffen out and your back arches. You usually do this most after being unswaddled in the mornings. We still swaddle you at night, because you like it, and it helps you sleep better, as you still don't quite have complete control over your arm's muscle movements.

But, we won't be swaddling you much longer. Why? Because, you can ROLL OVER! You rolled over for the first time at Grandma K's house. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and Uncle Joey got to see you do it! Then, you stopped for awhile. But the other day, you started doing it again, more frequently. You only roll one direction right now: Back to Front to the right side. And, since you hate tummy time, once you get rolled over, you get upset because you're on your tummy. I don't want you rolling over in your sleep while you're swaddled, so the swaddle weaning begins now.

(This is just you rolling from your side to your tummy, but I don't have any other "roll-over" pictures just yet. I hope to have a video to post soon!)

You are much more vocal now. You squeal in delight, and make this little "OOOoooOOOoooOOOooo" noise. The only consonant sound you can make right now is "g." And, you just started gurgling a bit when you coo. Your laughs are bigger and heartier. You LOVE to play, especially with Daddy. It's already very evident that you're a Daddy's girl. You are so happy when he comes around, and you're always looking over at him when Mommy is holding you.

You still don't grab for toys, but we've noticed you are taking more interest in them, and you will bat at them. You can hold a toy if we give it to you, but you won't take it on your own.

Oh my, baby girl. I still can't believe how quick time is flying by. I wish I could slow time down for this year and keep you my tightly swaddled little baby for a while longer. But you're not having any of it. Your growing all over! Your little feet are getting longer.

Your hair is growing in thicker and curlier. I can't wait to see you with little curls all over. s:) You don't fit in 0-3 month clothing anymore (though we can still squeeze you in a couple sleepers that were made "big" for their size). You can even wear a lot of 6-9 month clothing. I can't wait to see what you weigh at your doctor's appointment next week. Like I said earlier, you're getting smarter and smarter. It's obvious that you're learning things rapidly. And, while I do want things to go slowly, I'm also very excited to watch you reach your next milestones: rolling from tummy to back, crawling, grabbing, playing, teething, pulling up, walking... my my my! I'm getting ahead of myself. It just seems like things are going so quickly, I know those moments will be here soon.

You make every one of my days worth living, Meerkat. You have made our lives so much better. I can't wait to see what you do with your life, little girl. I can't wait to sit in the bleachers, chairs, sidelines, wings, audience and root you on! I'm so excited to watch you grow and develop your talents and likes month by month for the rest of your life. Thank you for being our daughter, Meerkat.

I love you more than anything.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November 1, 2010

Okay, sorry this post is so late, but I'm in the thick of the semester, and grading, real estate, and teaching has me all tied up most of the time. Anyway... let's move on to the reason for this post:

We're Finalized!!!

Sunday morning, we left for our 8 hour car trip to SC. A lot of states will allow phone/video finalization if the family lives far away, but SC does apparently does not... even though we asked several times. I was happy about the idea of finalizing in the courtroom; I was not happy about the idea of driving 8 hours. I don't like being trapped in a car, and riding in the backseat next to the carseat for the four hours I wasn't driving, in our tiny car, was ridiculous! It truly is like being caught in a trap. I could barely move.

Anyway, after we arrived, late at night, we ordered pizza, showered, and went to bed. Our court hearing was scheduled for very early in the morning. I slept okay, except that I was sick again... but a different type of sick this time. (UTI, bladder, and kidney infections). For whatever reason, anytime something important is about to happen, my body loses control. I've always been one to get sick if someone just breathes in my direction. But to get three severe infections in such a quick amount of time, just before a big event... GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

Thankfully, I was on some pain medicine for the severe kidney pain, and I was on antibiotics for the rest. This kept me from running to the restroom every two minutes at the courthouse the next day.

Speaking of the courthouse... ;)

Once there, we met our guardian ad litem and attorney. They were both very nice. Then, they called us into the courtroom. Of course, just before going into the courthouse, Meerkat decided to spit up all over her dress. Thankfully we got it all cleaned up. But then, she decided it was time to be fussy. So, all through the hearing, she cried and cried and cried. I felt a little bit like I was under the microscope, because I wanted to be the "perfect mommy" who soothes her baby by just cooing at her... but that didn't happen. She wanted to be bounced, and rocked, and wiggled, and stood up. But, in a serious court hearing, it's difficult to do those things and pay attention. We managed. And the judge and stenographer were smiling at her as she played and fussed.

Nick answered his questions first, and I felt the tears behind my eyes as he talked about how Meerkat "is the best thing that's ever happened to us." So, I knew I was going to have trouble when it was my turn...

Oh did I! I was fine for the marriage questions. I was fine for the nursery questions. I was fine for the education and finances questions. But when she asked me "Why do you want to adopt this child?" I couldn't hold it back. I don't even remember exactly what I said, but it's a very emotional question to answer. It's hard to express to someone the love I feel for Meerkat. It's indescribable. That child has my heart wrapped up in her tiny fingers, and I'm so thankful.

At the end, the smiling judge explained his happiness for us, and told us that he couldn't wait to sign the papers. He was going "to make legal, what is already true," -- that we are Meerkat's parents.

So, dear judge: thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being so sweet and happy. You made our court experience easy and stress-free. Your joy for us was evident, and helped us to feel comfortable and happy.

Finally, it was over. Our adoption journey (the first one anyway) is over. Meerkat is our child, in every way but genetics. So, back to home we headed. We stopped off for a quick bite to eat, as a celebration. Meerkat enjoyed her fingers while we ate.

And then, we drove 8 hours home. By the end of the car trip, we were all getting cranky and tired. Meerkat hated the last hour of the trip.

She didn't want to be in that carseat anymore... And, I can't blame her. It was a 16 hour trip that felt continuous, since we pretty much woke up and got back in the car.

Despite the long, frustrating car ride, it was a wonderful trip. I would do it again today for Meerkat's sake. I would do anything for that baby. My daughter. :D

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 2010

Oh, how I love Halloween! And not for any creepy reasons. I love halloween because I LOVE costumes. I mean, I would totally wear a different costume every day of the year if people wouldn't stop hanging around me. I also love Halloween because I love candy and kids! And so the combination of sharing candy with kids in cute costumes is just pure joy for me. Not to mention, I get to indulge in the candy myself, while wearing a pretty sweet costume. :)

So, I've always dreamt of the day that we would have a child to dress in cute costumes and take trick-or-treating. My parents were VERY religious, and I was not permitted to trick-or-treat, except for one year. The year I was two, I got to dress up as smurfette (which consisted of a plastic mask, and a garbage bag with a smurf scene on it that draped over my body). That is the only year I got to go knock on doors and ask for candy. For some reason, after that, my mom decided Halloween was too evil, candy wasn't good for me, everyone wanted to hurt little kids on Halloween, and I needed to go to church that day every year.

Now, I have nothing against church at all. And, I don't delve into the "evil" aspects of Halloween... just the candy and costumes (okay, and a little home decor). But I always wished I could be trick or treating and dressing up in costumes. I remember a couple years that the church had a costume party for the kids on halloween. I was very happy to go to them, but I dressed up as stupid things like "little miss bible" where I just wore a white dress and carried a bible. But, I still loved getting into some "character." I think that's why I loved theater in high-school... but I digress. Back to Halloween.

So, because I wasn't allowed to do it, I always vowed that when I grew up, I was going to celebrate halloween and give candy to the kids, and by golly I WAS GOING TO DRESS UP! And I do - every year. And I will - every year, until I can't dress myself anymore. And hopefully at that point, Meerkat will dress me up in some cool costume.

Last year, I was an evil queen. The year before that, I was wonder woman. Before that, a masked wrestler (luchador). Luckily, I have a husband who is willing to go along with it and likes to dress up too. And now we have Meerkat! And she is going to wear the BEST costumes I can find, every year... until she tells me herself that she doesn't want to do it anymore.

So this year, because she's too little to eat candy, we just sat on the porch in our costumes and passed out candy to everyone who came by.

Sidenote: when did kids stop saying "trick or treat?" So many of the kids who came up to us just held their bags open and expected us to drop candy in them without saying a word. Of course we did, but it would have been nice to hear a "trick or treat" or "happy halloween." Aaaaaaannnnnnndddddd..... isn't there an age restriction for trick or treat? I mean, I'd happily give candy to an eighty year old, if she showed up dressed in costume... but we had fifteen and sixteen year olds walking onto our porch, in street clothes, with pillow cases, asking for candy. Ummm... get a costume, and maybe you can have some of my sweettarts. Otherwise, you're getting exactly one gumball.

Okay... sidenote over. Let me share some of our halloween experiences this year:

I mean, can you get any cuter than that???!!! If you couldn't guess, she's a shark.

A very chill, ferocious shark.

And, she's also the cutest daggone shark of them all.

Mommy was a last minute witch. I was looking for a costume that went along with the "shark" theme... but didn't have the time or money to go find one. So, today I slammed this outfit together. I think it turned out well, and surprisingly it's the first time I've ever done the witch costume, even though it's a classic.

Daddy was a zombie. A very cute zombie, if I do say so myself.

Meerkat didn't make it through trick-or-treat. She fell asleep about an hour in, and was out cold. She didn't wake up for anything, even our family portrait:

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!! We hope yours is/was as fun as ours.

Also, stay tuned. BIG things are happening around here in the next couple days. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Three Months!

Dear Meerkat,

Do you see that picture up there? That simple little picture of you with your teddy-mouse, 1996? That was a difficult little picture to get! You've grown so much in the last month, that you're too big for 1996 to support you! And, you can't quite support yourself just yet, so you just topple right over her legs and roll off her face. Don't believe me? Here, look at this:

See what I mean? You're so rolly-polly now! You've got chubby little legs, and cute chubby cheeks. It's so much fun to watch you grow.

This month has been a fun month! You're so social now. You love your old playmat with tiger, monkey, and lion. But now, you've got a new playmat to love - and love it you do. Mommy and Daddy went to your cousin, Greg's, football game and won the 50/50 drawing. It wasn't much, but it was enough to buy you a nice new playmat that lights up and has a moving mobile. You coo and coo at it. It's like you want to tell all the little animals your secrets.

You've started smiling much more than you used to. You greet Mommy and Daddy in the mornings with the biggest grins. I love waking up, walking downstairs to you and daddy, and seeing your big grins.

Just one day before your 13 week birthday, you laughed out loud for the first time. Mommy came downstairs in the morning and picked you up. When you saw my face, you started giggling, and you just kept going. It was so cute! We got a couple little laughs on videotape, but you didn't really want to be on camera and stopped laughing quickly after we brought it out.

So far, you still like to be swaddled when you go to bed. Your bedtime is still 8pm. You're a good sleeper. It's easiest to get you to bed by swaddling you, rocking you, and patting your butt. It's like a tranquilizer. You're usually out cold in ten minutes or less. :)

You've found your hands this month - much more than you did before. You used to put them in your mouth by accident, and then you'd suck your fingers. But now, you intentionally put them in your mouth. And today, when I was taking your picture, you kept putting your hands up in your face and playing with them, so it was difficult to get a good shot!

We're so happy you're a part of our family. These last three months have been some of the best moments of my life. I can't imagine being anything other than your mommy. I feel like that's my purpose in life! I was put on this earth to love you. And boy do I ever! I love your chunky baby toes, and the rings around your thighs. I love your tiny eyebrows and the little dimple in your chin. I love the fuzz on your ears, and I love the way your hair circles on the top of your head.

Happy 3 month birthday baby girl!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eleven must be a mean ol' number.

Meerkat is now 12 weeks old, but when I was uploading all of last weeks pictures onto the computer, I noticed a strange trend...

Apparently, life as an 11 week old is very difficult. :,(

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A little bit closer...

We have a court date!

November 1, 2010.

That is the day we stop being "legal guardians" and start being "parents." That is the day we order our birth certificate, our social security card, etc. That is the day the label "family" becomes recognized by more than just those who know us.

We are already parents and family, but it will be nice to have it set in stone.


I like that word.

A nifty thing about the finalization date: It is exactly one week before my birthday. That means Meerkat was born right around Daddy's birthday, and her adoption will have been finalized right around Mommy's birthday. Julys and Novembers are going to be filled with celebration in this household!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So today I found out that Similac is recalling a bunch of formula. Guess what brand of formula we use. DING DING DING! You got it.

I decided to check the container that we just finished last night to see if it was affected in the recall. It was. The entire 1.45 lb container was contaminated with Beetles and Beetle parts. Did you read that?

BEETLE PARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you know what is included in the term "beetle parts?" LARVAE! Little tiny slimy beetle eggs.

In my daughter's stomach.

I had noticed two little black specks in one of her bottles recently, and I thought it was the dishwasher's fault, so I dumped it and made a new one. Now, I don't know if it was the dishwasher or Beetle parts.

I am horrified. HORRIFIED. I can't think straight right now. Who knows how many containers of formula she's eaten that have been contaminated. Over the past couple weeks, she's started to spit up more often, and she doesn't eat quite as much or with as much gusto as she once did. I assumed it was just natural baby tummy growth/sensitivity changes. Then I read the article that states gastrointestinal problems as a result of the contamination.

So it's official - She has ingested some unknown amount of Beetle and/or Beetle parts and/or Beetle larvae.

As an adoptive mother, who was unable to exclusively breastfeed her daughter, I am so angry. I trust these companies to provide my baby, who depends on formula as her only source of nutrition, a healthy, safe alternative to breastmilk. It's my only option. It's unfair that I now have to be worried about my daughter's safety and well-being because of something that I've mixed up and put in her body.

On top of all that, we don't get WIC or any sort of assistance to pay for our formula. We go through formula very quickly, and that means we're buying a lot of formula. And at approximately 23 dollars a container --- that's a lot of money. And now, I have to live with the fact that I've spent my own money to buy something that has made my daughter sick and that could make her sicker for all I know. All because someone slacked off in quality control.

What makes me angry is the timing. Couldn't they have caught this sooner, or notified us sooner? Our container is completely empty. How could they not have known this sooner? How could they not have let us know sooner?

I am seriously considering switching to Nestle or Enfamil. I worry that the switch could mess with her system... but really, could it cause her any more gastrointestinal distress than swallowing Beetle parts?

I am so upset right now. :(

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two Month Stats

Weight: 12lbs 9oz
Length: 23 inches
Head Circumfrence: 15 inches

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Months!

Dear Meerkat,
Wow! Time is flying by. I can't believe you're two months old already. Two months ago today, mommy was drugged up on A.lka Se.ltzer Plus and nose spray in order to meet you for the first time. I was so sick I could barely walk, but I wasn't going to miss your grand entrance, even if I had to be carried in to see you. And today, on your two month birthday, mommy is sick again. A.lka Se.ltzer is coursing through my veins as I type this. Let's hope this isn't a trend and that I'm sick every two months on your birthday. :p

Where do I begin to talk about this last month... Parts of it have been extremely rough, and other parts have been pure Heaven. Since your one month birthday, your fussiness increased tenfold. For a couple weeks there, there was no calming you down. Nothing worked. The worst night was Wednesday, September 1st. Daddy had to go to work, and it was just me and you at home alone. I was excited to spend some quality mommy-baby time, but you had other plans. About 15 minutes after daddy left, you started screaming. I don't mean loud cries. I mean blood curdling, lose your voice screams. Eventually you started doing this really weird scream that sounded a bit like hyperventilation. I couldn't calm you down. I tried singing, rocking, your swing, swaddling, unswaddling, pacifier, bottle, diaper change, walking, bouncing, talking, TV... etc. etc. Nothing would work. You spit up about 8 times that day, so we think your little tummy was hurting, but you didn't have a fever and didn't seem sick otherwise. You screamed for about 3.5 hours. By the end of the night, mommy was crying with you. I just decided we'd sit together and do nothing, and we just cried and cried together, until you finally fell asleep. And then you slept for HOURS!

Since that night, your fussiness has begun to wear off. Instead, we are now blessed with more happy baby time. You still don't smile much; we're lucky to see one authentic smile a day. But, you will coo and squeal when you're pleased. You got a new playmat, and you love it! You will stare up at the monkey and lion and coo and coo. You completely ignore the tiger and get really upset if you snag your hand on his dangly red heart.

Now we're just waiting for the giggles to start. I can't wait to hear your laughter.

You tolerate bathtime much better now! But, you still prefer a shower. You also tolerate getting dressed and diaper changes much better than you used to. You'll sometimes even coo while we're changing you.

Your sleep routine is very good at night. You sleep from around 12:30am until 5:30 or 6:00am just about every night. Sometimes we get lucky and you sleep until 7. That's rare though. If we swaddle you tight, you'll sleep from 8pm until your midnight feeding, and then you'll go back to sleep afterward.

Your eyes are still blue, though they are starting to darken just a bit. And, you have one little brown spot in your right eye. Speaking of your eyes... they're huge! You have the most beautiful, big eyes in the world. And your eyelashes are so long and luxurious. You could do mascara commercials. :) People keep commenting that you resemble Daddy. It's interesting, because in some ways you do. I see it right around your eyes. It's amazing how that ends up working out.

Meerkat, you've brought this house so much joy! We're so happy that you're here. It's still unreal to look down at you all curled up in my arms, clutching my chest. I'm so thankful for you.


Monday, September 6, 2010

A first mother's perspective...

I'm a big nerd who is in love with adoption. I am so eager to find other couples who are using our agency, or who have used the agency, or who are just adopting in general. So, every month or so, I do a google search for blogs. This time, I ran across an interesting blog written by a first mother, who has used ANLC not once, but twice. Her story is touching, and it's nice to see a first mother's perspective of our agency that is a good one.

Her blog is here: Baby, Ho!

The thing that struck me first about this blog is her discussion of the photos of potential adoptive couples. It's something that has bothered me about our agency from the moment we had to redo our profile pictures. She says she felt that they were too staged, that the people looked like they were posing, or smiling awkwardly. And, I agree. The problem is, after sending in 85 pictures that are natural, happy moments and sincere smiles and then being told that they all need to be done over again because "there was glare in your glasses" or "you aren't close enough to each other" or "don't cover your eyes" or "you have to look directly at the camera" or "they have to be taken within the last year ONLY" it's hard to smile sincerely. And, the pictures are posed! I hated that aspect of our profiles. We tried to get the most sincere pictures we could. We didn't want to look like a plastic couple. But, it's nice to see that a first mother feels the same way, since all that time we were told "first mothers want to see this... and this... and this... specifically."

Anyway, I love our agency! Love them! Plan to use them again, in fact! So, that's just a minor setback, and something that I can live with. The point of this blog is simply to point you in Kami's direction. Comments are off on her blog because she's gotten some negative feedback. I'm hoping she'll stumble over here at some point to see there are people in her corner. Granted, I'm a bit biased in the whole "pro adoption" campaign... but I truly think it's a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Wildcat edition

Sunday, August 22, 2010

So much...

I have so much going on right now... Let me try to express it to you:
  • I have so much to do this week! Finishing up syllabi for my classes tonight. Showing houses throughout the week. Washing loads of laundry--though my loving husband has been doing this mostly, so I might get out of it ;) And although my husband is doing most of the house chores lately (God bless him!), I can't shake the feeling that there's still so much to do. As soon as we dust, we need to dust. As soon as we sweep the floors, a hairball floats down the stairs and settles in the hallway. As soon as we wash a load of dishes, every bottle in the house is dirty. And the baby clothes... Oh. My. Gosh. We have to wash them a lot, and my how they increase the laundry work load. I am thankful though, because Meerkat does not soil her clothing. We only change her clothes once or twice a day. I know from my sister's experience that most babies go through many more outfits a day... aiaiai.

I have so much dread. School starts tomorrow. The normal dread I have for starting up in the Fall pales in comparison to what I feel this year. As much as I love teaching, it is always hard to leave the beauty of summer behind and fall into the rigorous and demanding teaching schedule college requires. No more sleepy summer days. No more late night TV. Now, it's back to grading every day; poor student attitudes; plagiarism cases; lesson planning; reading and reading; etc. Again - I love my job... it's just hard to make that transition with the seasons. And this year is even worse. Not only am I leaving behind muggy, nap-filled summer days - but I'm leaving behind muggy, nap-filled summer days with my baby! Oh how I love how she curls up on my chest, stretching her little arms and breathing that heavy baby breath. Oh how I love wiping the milk as it drips down her chin. Oh how I love her vacant little stares in the middle of the day. And now I will be spending less time enjoying these things... I can no longer dedicate my every hour to Meerkat, as much as I would like to. Now, I have to dedicate some time to work. BOO! HISS! But how thankful I am for the timing of this adoption. I would never have been allowed maternity leave at my job, so these past six weeks with Meerkat have been pure HEAVEN!

  • I have so much anxiety lately. Meerkat was VERY fussy this week. Thankfully, the last couple days she's been much happier, but earlier this week, I was in tears constantly. She would scream and scream, and nothing would calm her. I'd hold her; I'd feed her; I'd rock her; I'd change her. She just wanted to scream. If she wasn't asleep, she was screaming. There were no happy, contented baby moments on those days. I know it's irrational, but I found myself questioning our bond. I worried that she wasn't feeling connected to me, that maybe I was doing something wrong. I know these are normal mommy fears... but boy were they real to me. I just held her and cried with her. I talked to her and told her how much I loved her. We went on a walk around the neighborhood, and I explained to her my feelings. Of course she doesn't understand, but it helped me sort out my feelings and understand hers. She just needed her baby moment, and I was taking it personally. And when she'd curl herself into me at the end of the day as I rocked her to sleep, I cried again. This baby loves me; she needs me. And I need her. And my God I love her with a love so strong it crushes me right to my knees.

I have so much to be thankful for. As stressed, sleep-deprived, anxious, and nervous as I've felt these past few days, I am equally thankful. I am truly blessed. I have a husband who shares 50/50 in the workload around here (heck sometimes he does more like 75% of the work). He cares for our baby the same as me. He gets up with her; He changes her; He feeds her; He praises her; He plays with her. I watch him and I realize that all the love I've felt for him over the last five years has just been put under a magnifying glass. I swell with pride watching him. That's my husband. And that's my baby. I could sit and watch them together all day long.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, August 13, 2010

One Month Stats

weight: 9lbs 4oz
length: 21"
head circumfrence: 14"