Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas!

Wow, did we have fun!


Meerkat cleans up nice! :) Her hair is long enough to do fun hairstyles now.


Can't show you his face, so you'll just have to imagine all the cuteness lurking behind those 3-D glasses. Believe me, it's a lot of cuteness. :)


Enjoying the BIG gift - a kitchen playset! We spent 4 hours putting that thing together. I'm happy they enjoy it. :)

I can't wait until next Christmas!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Alive

Wow. I have so much to catch you up on. It's been a whirlwind around here for a while, and I've been busier than I've ever been in my life, but I finally found a moment to steal away and write.

Our family has grown by one... but not in the way you are thinking. We recently became foster parents to a beautiful little boy. He's very bright, in fact, I think he's the smartest two year old I've ever met. He's only here for a short time, but we are cherishing every moment we get to spend with this special little man. I'll call him "Little Mr." here, as I can't/won't reveal his real name for his privacy's sake. But, I'm getting ahead of myself, and I'm sure you all want some background... so let me go back in time a little bit:

I was never truly interested in foster care, when we started our adoption journey. I know how emotional I am, and I feared that I would develop too strong an attachment (my new thoughts on this are a post for another time) to these children, and that a little piece of me would die each time they left, until finally there would be nothing left of me to give to other children. After taking the foster/adopt classes during our homestudy, we felt even more conflicted about foster care, since the ultimate goal is always reunification, even in some of the most serious removal circumstances. It broke my heart to think of returning a child to a potentially abusive situation. (Please don't judge me too critically for these thoughts; they were my own, and I am making myself quite vulnerable by sharing them.)

Our social worker asked us to be open to the possibility of fostering, and we said we'd think about it. Eventually, we decided that we would foster, if and only if the child was eligible for adoption. We thought this was a nice, happy medium. And then our phone rang...

and it rang...

and rang...

Over and over again, we were getting called with potential situations: A _ week old child with broken bones and possible molestation. A _ year old child who was left in the car while mom shopped. A _ year old and a newborn with drug addiction. A _ year old who's mom just left town. The list goes on and on. The information was always minimal.

[Tangent] I think this is one of the hardest parts of getting into fostering. When you get that referral call, your heart races, just like with an adoption match. But, the information is severely limited. We were constantly told: "It's an emergency placement." or "We don't even know his/her name yet." or "No clue if this will turn into an adoptable case or not." or "Can you pick him/her up right now?" It's hard to have to make a decision in literally 5 minutes. And that's truly all you get in some of these cases. For instance, in the first case mentioned above, we said we'd do it. We gave our confirmation about 10 minutes after receiving the call. Our social worker called us back to tell us she/he was already placed with someone else. Obviously, our main concern was that the child was in a safe place, so we were fine with that. But, it's silly to not be realistic... our hearts were chipped. [End Tangent]

It seemed like there was never any clue as to whether these children were adoptable or not... we soon learned foster care doesn't work like that. Usually, it's not known until late in the game if the child will be adoptable, and at that point, the current foster parents will (sometimes) adopt the child.

But suddenly, that whole "adoptable" thing didn't matter as much anymore. Don't get me wrong, we ultimately want to adopt again, and our preference would be to have a child in our home who is adoptable. But, the phone calls about these children were wrenching our hearts right out of our bodies, so we changed our minds and began considering fostering non-adoptable children. We said no to some; we just weren't ready (housewise and emotionally in some instances). We said yes to some, but we were always too late.

Then, the day before my birthday, the phone rang again. A little boy was ready to be picked up at that moment. He would most likely be returned to his parents, as their offenses were somewhat minor compared to other cases. But still, we didn't have much knowledge and weren't sure what his name was or even what the particulars of the case were. So, we said yes immediately and went to get him.

Wow. The moment that door swung open and that smudge-faced little boy hobbled in in his PJs was a moment I will remember all my life. He was so adorable. We played and got to know each other for a little while, and then we took him home. He's been with us now for a couple months, and in that time we've grown VERY attached to him. However, I've learned that I'm stronger than I thought I was, because all I want is for this darling little boy to find his way back to his parents. It's quite clear how much they love him, and that they've taken excellent care of him prior to all this. He talks like a 3 year old. He helps clean up. He puts himself to sleep. He is potty trained. He gets along with Meerkat and treats her nice 90% of the time. Etc. Etc. Etc. Visitations have been wonderful. We've met his parents. I think that's an important part of fostering (as I'll write in my attachment post later). He'll probably be with us for a few more weeks (though we still don't know particulars... it could be days or months).

I'm cherishing every moment we have with him. He will forever be a part of our lives and family, even after he returns to his own family. We love him dearly.

Stay tuned. I am still confused and conflicted about parts of the fostering process, and as I'm working through all my feelings and thoughts, I plan to write more posts about things like foster-loss, attachment, visitations, etc.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Wig Edition)

AKA Toddlers and Tiara's Reject Edition:





Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rambling...

Here I sit, on a lonely Saturday night, missing my husband who is away working for the weekend. I pick him up bright and early in the morning, meaning I should be sleeping so I can wake up and get meerkat ready and head out the door. But, I can't sleep...

I've had a headache all day, and when I get these headaches, it usually affects my mood and makes me feel a bit down in the dumps. Combine that with a sleeping baby, quiet house, tons of work to do, and a list of things that need doing that will never end, and you have one rattled woman. I'm not rattled in the sense that I'm depressed or unnerved... I just contemplate a lot in times like these. A lot a lot...

I tend to think about the future when I'm in these moods. In the past, I would ponder whether or not I would ever be a mommy. I would question God and the Universe about why exactly I was "cursed" with this horrible condition that causes me to be infertile. I would wonder if we would ever have enough money to afford adoption. I wondered if we would ever be chosen. I wondered if we would be happy. Would we make it? Would our baby love us and think of us as her parents? Would we want an open adoption? Would we want a foster/adopt scenario? Would we want an infant? Would we do international adoption? Would we try to get a surrogate? What would we do? Would I be an "old" mother? Would I have a big family, like I've always dreamed of? Where would the money come from? If we found a way to afford one, how would we afford another? If we found a way to afford two, how would we afford three? etc. You can see, my brain gets carried away when left to itself.

Now, so many of those questions have been answered - I have a daughter. We managed to afford it. We're still paying for the adoption, and will be for some time, but we're able to do it. My daughter loves me; I have no doubt. We're happy. We've made it this far. ... And yet, so many other questions have yet to be answered.

Tonight, my mind wanders to our future children -- children who may very well be here soon... children who may be far away. Tonight, I wish I had a crystal ball.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A million things...

I have a million things to say... I don't know where to start.

I'm in the process of composing a post, but it will probably be enormous... Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wordless Thursday (since I missed Wednesday by an hour)


Thursday, August 4, 2011

1 Year!



Dear Meerkat,
You've been one for nearly a month now, and you're more playful than ever. We can't keep you still... which is one reason that Mommy has taken so long to post this letter.

I can't believe it's been a year now since you were born. A year ago, on your birthday, I was anxious, nervous, excited, happy, worried, sick, and in love. You were the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. Your scrunched up little face and swollen cheeks were just begging to be kissed.

I could have held you forever. But, we felt like visitors for a lot of that day. We came and went, visited you, visited A, had meals, slept at our hotel, etc. We wanted so much to just take you home and snuggle you forever. Our hearts were so full of so many feelings. We loved you already. We couldn't have loved you more. And yet, our hearts were aching for A, who in the other room was facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life. We had no expectations, only hopes and dreams. And by the grace of God, A made those dreams come true. And we hope that you always think of A with love in your heart, especially on your birthday. She loves you so much, and I know she thinks of you often. Despite our heavy emotions that day, we were all very smiley, including A, whose story is for our families only. We love her so much, and we're so grateful that she blessed us with such a beautiful, smart, funny little girl.

Once we got you home, we couldn't have been more smitten. We didn't really cry at the hospital, but once we got you home, we couldn't hold back the tears. Daddy and Mommy just sat on the bed holding you, staring into your beautiful face, and cried together.

Oh, sweet girl, you had us wrapped around your finger. I didn't think it was possible to feel such strong attachment and responsibility for another human being. But those feelings were suddenly there, as if they had always been there. You were our daughter, and I would do anything for you. And as this year has passed, my heart has filled more and more and more.

I have been amazed at your development. You went from a small little baby who could do nothing to a small child who is beginning to walk around the house with a little bit of attitude. :)



I know this letter is different from the others, because it isn't filled with accomplishments, developments, etc. But I wanted to just spend some time letting you know how special you are, and how thankful we are for you. We love you so much. You've melted Mommy's heart, and you've made me feel so proud. I love to show you off to people and hear them compliment your beauty. I love to play games with you and make you laugh. I love everything about you, including your smelly little vinegar toes. Sometimes, I just sit and sniff them over and over again. One day you'll read this and think I'm crazy, but then later you'll have a child of your own, and you'll realize how intensely I love you and how much I cherish everything about you. I love your boogers. Can you believe that? Me, the woman who washes her hands a million times a day and worries about walking by garbage cans... the woman who panics over the thought of smelling bad, and who thinks looking at other people's feet is a little gross... Me... I would live between your toes, if I could.

Dear Meerkat, please always know in your heart just how much I love you. I know someday you'll be a teenager, and you'll think Mommy's mean or not cool. You'll get mad at me from time to time. I just hope that you will always carry in your heart the love I feel for you. You are the reason I live, work, breathe... the reason I wake in the morning. I'm so grateful for you. You and Daddy are my whole world, and I am so proud of my little family.



I love you!

<3,
Mommy

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy to be 1


Thursday, July 14, 2011

1st Birthday

Yes, Meerkat had her first birthday party, and it was a huge success!

I will be posting her monthly letter soon. Things have been hectic around here lately, due to having family in town for her birthday, and then the clean up and working that followed. So, anticipate that letter during this weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from Meerkat's party:



I made Moo.se and Z.ee cupcakes and cake. The cupcakes turned out great, but the cake's feet fell off, and the antlers melted in the heat during transport and couldn't be attached. So, it was a sort of moose.





She didn't know what to do with the cake. She just poked at it awhile, and then put her hands in her hair. That was pretty much the extent of her cake eating. :)


She got lots of great presents, but she had more fun playing with the bows and making funny faces. :)


Three one year olds! My cousin's son, Meerkat, and my sister's son. :) So cute!!!

It was a busy time, but it was great. We all enjoyed the day, and Meerkat had a lovely birthday.

Stay tuned for the monthly update.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First Birthday Plans

We're doing a Moo.se and Z.ee theme for the birthday party, since those are the Nic.k jr. characters that Meerkat loves the most. I'm going to make a Moos.e cake and Z.ee cupcakes. I'm pretty excited about them, and I hope they turn out nicely.

I handmade all the invitations by drawing, cutting, and pasting characters and writing the party information in white crayon on a black construction paper chalkboard. However... a week and a half after reserving the pavilion, I find out that all the pavilions at that particular park have already been reserved. I'm livid that I didn't get this notification sooner, as I've already written the pavilion number on all the invites. I don't know what to do about this. I'm still trying to figure it out, but her party is only a couple weeks away, and I need to get these things in the mail.

We haven't gift shopped yet, but I think we'll be getting her a little ride-on toy, some clothes, and maybe some books or wooden puzzles. She loves to play, so I'm excited to see what toys she gets.

I can't believe it's been a year already. Where did the time go??? This time last year we were a ball of nerves and excitement. Wow. I can't believe how quickly time goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

to the best, most considerate, thoughtful, helpful, caring, and nurturing man. I love you! And your daughter is so lucky to have you for a daddy.

XOXOXO

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

11 Months!


Dear Meerkat:

Eleven months old already??? One more month until you're ONE! One more month of babyhood. Then, you start to become a "big girl." Although, in so many ways, you're already showing your big girl independence.

You play independently for long stretches. It's so much fun to watch you examine your toys. You'll spin things in your hands, over and over, figuring them out. You push buttons, fill and empty things, climb, walk, and what I can only assume is make believe. You'll put your toys in your mouth and wave your arms around like crazy, and hum or squeal. You jibber jabber in your playpen at nothing.



You've pretty much outgrown your jumperoo. I'm sad because you loved it so much for so long. It seems like we just bought it, and already it's time to take it down... or pass it on to a cousin.

Since we're talking about toys, let's talk about your favorite toy this month. We bought you a small toy kitchen, about 14 inches tall. And you LOVE it. It sings and makes sound effects. When it plays a song, you will wriggle and wiggle and dance. You love the faucet the most, it seems. You will continuously make it say "on/off on/off on/off." It came with a toy pot, a large toy spoon, and some toy food. If we pretend to feed you from the toy spoon, you'll smack your lips and make a "mmm" sound. It's really adorable, and amazing to me that you already have such a vivid imagination. It's hard to believe that so few months ago, you couldn't even reach out for a toy.

Oh yeah... another thing about your kitchen. You like to climb on top of it. Today, you opened the oven door and balanced precariously on the little lip between the nothingness of the open oven and the nothingness on the other side. We decided to just get you the crap down and not worry about snapping a picture of that little incident. We have to watch you very closely, because you will stand on anything that's available. Your balance is good though. Maybe you'll be a gymnast, or a dancer.

This month, you have sprouted more teeth! You now have 4 (two on top and two on bottom) and one more coming in as I write this. You have a good bite now, and so we are giving you more table food. You like macaroni and cheese a lot. You also really love snack time. The crunchies and puffs are your favorite, though you won't turn down a yogurt bite either. You didn't care for black beans the last time we gave them to you, but you love great northern beans. Daddy hates them. He thinks they stink. Mommy thinks they look, taste, and smell delicious! But mommy has always liked beans of all sorts.

Your hair is longer and thicker, but it's hard to tell because it's so curly. I can tell because I wash it, and it gets really long when I detangle it. But then it springs right back against your head. You don't like it when I put bows in your hair anymore, but you'll tolerate them once they're in.

This month, you still babble unintelligibly. And, you say mama and dada, but still with no recognition of the meaning. But, something that you've started doing this month is immitating. We went to OH for your cousin's graduation, and while there, you had a little chair in the yard with fish and bubbles on it. Mommy would say "bubble... bubble... bubble... fish!" and point to the pictures to show you which was which. After a couple times, I would say "bubble" and you would follow it with "Buh" or "Buhpp" and when I would say "fish" you would follow it with "Gih" It was very clear that you were trying to say what I was saying, even though no one would ever guess those were the words you were saying if they didn't hear me say them first.

Oh, and on this visit to OH, you FINALLY got to meet your great Grandma R and Aunt K this month. They've been waiting so patiently to meet you, and thankfully we were able to stop by on our way home this time around. They were so happy to see you, and you entertained them big time! You ripped up a magazine and rode around on it through the living room. You played piano. You crawled around and babbled. Then you ate and passed out. It was a blast.



You are still happy this month - happy about everything. We laugh; you laugh. We move; you laugh. We turn on the TV; you laugh. We play with a toy; you laugh. We put your paci in our mouths; you laugh. We wake you up; you laugh. We put you to bed... okay, you don't always laugh for this. In fact, you mostly hate going to bed. But the other night, when I was putting you to bed, you giggled like a crazy woman for no reason for several minutes.

The newest and most exciting thing you're doing lately is letting go of what you're holding onto and remaining standing. You haven't taken any steps yet, and you're still a little afraid of standing alone. But you do it. And you did it a lot at your Grandma S' house. You stood for well over a minute and a half.

I doubt you'll be walking by your birthday. But I think you'll be walking before 13 months. We'll see if I'm right.

I can't believe this time has gone so fast. Keep growing and developing! Mommy can't wait to see what comes next. You continue to amaze and surprise me every day, and you fill my heart with more love than I can explain in words.



I adore you, Meerkat.

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer = Awesome!

Today, we went to the pool with Meerkat for the first time. It was spectacular. It was so much fun to watch her uncertainty and chilliness turn into pure excitement and pleasure. She kicked like a little swimmer, and splashed, and floated in her raft. It was just so much fun!

I can't wait to go back. Summer has always been fun, but Meerkat makes it 100x more fun! :) I love this child:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Want, Want, Want... Work, Work, Work...

Now that school is out, and I'm done teaching for the summer, I've had a lot of time to think about the things I want. In fact, I'm turning three of these things into goals:

1. Pay off some debt

2. Help my mom get into a new home

3. "Officially" begin our second adoption by the end of the year

So, obviously, these things involve a lot of money. But, I'm going to work extra hard these next three months. EXTRA hard. And hopefully, it will pay off. :) I am so in love with my other job (real estate) that I can't wait to dig my heels in and start getting some more listings and sales. It's so rewarding to help people find houses or sell their homes. So, now that I'm not teaching for the summer, I'm going to focus focus focus. Think of me and wish me well! I'm hoping to get a significant start on #1 by the end of the summer. But it will take a lot of work to get there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

10 months!


Dear Meerkat,

You are SO CUTE!!! This past month has been such a pleasure, because you've started to do adorable little things that I never even imagined when I used to daydream about being your mommy over a year ago.

For instance, you've started waving your little hand to say "hi." to mommy and daddy. You don't wave it back and forth, you open and close your tiny fingers. It's become automatic. If you hear mommy say "Hi baby!" you will immediately start to wave. Sometimes you will stare down at your fingers like you don't know what they're doing. And other times you will wave toward yourself. But regardless, it's so stinkin cute! I need to capture it on video (note to self: do that tomorrow morning!) The other day, I walked into your bedroom in the morning and said "Good morning, baby!" and you raised your little hand off the bar of your crib and waved at me with a big smile on your face. My heart proceeded to melt all over the floor. :)

Even more recently, you've started clapping those precious hands when we say "Yay!" and clap with you.

You've also begun pulling yourself up regularly. Right after my last monthly update, you started doing it a lot. And, now, you'll even do it with one hand. You've also learned how to lower yourself down to the ground without hurting yourself. You're so smart!

One really adorable thing you've started to do lately is get SUPER excited for no reason. You just start to freak out (in a good way) and kick your legs like crazy, and wave your arms around, all while smiling your huge, one-toothed grin and squealing like a tiny maniac. :) I LOVE IT! And, if we pick you up while you're excited, you will kick in the air like you're trying to swim.

This month your hair has gotten longer and fuller. It's insane! It's absolutely beautiful - but it definitely is going to take some maintenance. When I take bows out of your hair, you look like Cosm.o Kra.mer from Seinfe.ld.


You say "mama" and "dada" and "baba" but you have no idea what those things mean yet (or if you do, you aren't letting on). But it's pure magic to hear those words come out of your mouth. Usually it's a string of sounds: "mamamamama" "bababab" "dadada" "mamabadaba" but it doesn't change how much I love hearing you make those sounds. It's just a sign of what's to come! And, I can't wait to hear your little voice saying all sorts of cute things.

This month, your stranger anxiety has gotten stronger. For the last couple months, you've not liked men who you don't know. But I've noticed this intensifying a bit in the last week or two. Sometimes, just looking at a man you don't know can send you into tears, unless mommy or daddy is holding you. I don't want to encourage it, but I have to tell you secretly: I absolutely love it when you cling to me and want me to protect you. :)

You solo play nicely, but you love to play with mommy and daddy the most. Very recently, you've really begun to enjoy reading books with us, and you get upset when we put the book away.

You would play with us all day long, if we'd let you. You love it so much that you try to avoid napping in order to play, even when you're so tired you cry for no reason at all. Sometimes, you'll be playing, and then you'll just lay down for a second like you're exhausted. As soon as mommy or daddy says something, you pop back up like you just took a 2 hour power nap. It's becoming very difficult to get you to nap, but we push through the tears and squeals and twisting and turning, and eventually you fall asleep.
You sleep best at night (and function more happily during the day) if you have two naps: One around 10:30am and another around 2:30 or 3pm.

As for your diet this month, the doctor told us to start transitioning you to table food, so we're trying to do that slowly and carefully. We give you a little bite here and there of our food, as long as it's not too seasoned, and as long as it's cut up really small. You love it. But you still love to have your bottle the best.

You're growing so big and strong! Your little legs are so powerful! I'm amazed at how fast you grow and change in a month's time. We've only got two more months before you're a year old... and I know you'll go through many more changes before that.

I love you so much baby! This month we celebrated mother's day, and it was one of the happiest days I've ever had. I'm so proud to be your mother. And I'm so excited that summer's here and mommy and daddy get to stay home with you all summer!!!! YAY!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I had a wonderful first official Mother's Day thanks to my loving, wonderful husband. When I woke up this morning, he presented me with my gifts. First, he gave me a beautiful card from him and Meerkat. Then, he gave me a big bag of all my favorite childhood candies: Circ.us Pe.anuts, Swe.et T.arts, Pe.z, and Ni.k-l-ni.ps. Then...

Then...

THEN!!! He presented me with the best gift ever!

My husband spent the last several days writing a story about me... from childhood dreams of being a mother, to finding out about my infertility, to my struggle with it, to our adoption. Oh, but that's not all. Not only did he write the story, but he illustrated it in beautiful white silhouettes that went along with the story. Then, he put it all on black paper and created a book! It's beautiful! And of course I cried. It truly was the best thing he could have given me today. It showed me how well he knows me, how much he cares about me, and it showed his creativity, talent, thoughtfulness, and romanticism.

I love that man.

After all this, we went to church, and then to dinner with my mom and grandma. It was a lovely day!

Of course, I spent a majority of the day thinking of A and all the other birthmothers who have made many other mothers able to celebrate this day for the first time this year. And while I was filled with joy and love today, I was also filled with a hint of sadness. I know that despite her certainty in her decision, despite our open relationship, despite the fact that she has two other children to hug her on mother's day, that a large piece of her heart was here with Meerkat today. And I pray that she was able to have some joy today, despite that sadness.

A, I know you probably will never read this, and that I've told you how we feel about you a number of times. But I have to put it out into the atmosphere as often as possible. You are a wonderful woman who I will love forever. Thank you for your selflessness, for your strength, for your love, and for your trust in us. We love you dearly. Meerkat will always know how much we cherish you, and I'm sure she will grow up loving you as much as we do, and as much as you love her. Happy mother's day today, A. And Happy birthmother's day yesterday. You deserve two special days, and I hope that you were able to relax and have some type of peace this weekend.

And to all you other mothers: first time, expecting, waiting to be expecting, or old hat --- Happy Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Calling all those with curls (or kids with curls)

So, I have curly hair. But it's really just super wavy curls. Usually I just straigthen my hair, and I'm okay with that. But now, I'm faced with the difficult task of caring for a child with curls... and I mean lots of curls. I don't really know how to handle it. Meerkat has the tightest little curls all over her head. I'm trying to figure out how they will look when they grow out (up?) more. Will she just keep getting a larger and larger afro? Or will her curls begin to stretch out a bit? Will they be excessively frizzy? If you have curly hair, or have a child with curly hair, I'd love some tips. Please share your best "curly hair" secrets. I want my daughter to love her hair - and that's going to start with me learning how to manage it.

Also, if you have pictures of your kids (or self) when they were little and then a little older, to help me see how Meerkat's hair might end up looking, I'd love to see them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did you have a happy Easter?

Because we sure did!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Followers and Lurkers:

If you have a private website and feel comfortable with the idea, I'd love to follow along. I noticed one of my followers and a couple people who've been lurking, but never officially followed, have private blogs. I would love to be able to share in your journey too! My email address is slking20500 at gmail dot com.

Let's be buddies! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

9 Months!



Dear Meerkat,

What a month!!! This past month has been a milestone month baby!

First, you got your first tooth! You put Daddy's finger in your mouth, and he felt something sharp. We couldn't really see it very well at first, but we knew it was there. It wasn't long before it made its way through your gums entirely. Now you have a beautiful white little tooth on the bottom righthand side of your mouth. It hurts when you chomp down on our fingers! It's strange how powerful that one little tooth can be. It won't be long before you're eating big girl food. We've already started giving you little biscuits, and you love them!



The very next day (after the tooth discovery) you began to crawl for the first time! You teetered on the brink of crawling for so long, we knew you would be moving forward this month, and sure enough...! We got a video of you crawling the day you started.
videoNow, you crawl everywhere. We have to constantly wrangle you away from cords, the laundry basket, the cable box, the catfood bowls, and the dining room. We put you in your jumpe.roo and play.pen every so often, until we can successfully babyproof everything to allow you the run of the downstairs.

The day before your nine month birthday, you pulled yourself up for the first time. Daddy laid you down for a nap, but you had other plans. When he went downstairs, you started to cry. He heard you stop for a minute and then start back up, so he went up to get you. And there you were, standing up, holding onto the side of your crib. You haven't done it again, but I'm hoping you will soon, so I can catch it on camera! :)

You're outgrowing all of your clothes. You wear 12 month old clothing now. You zipped right through the 6-9 month clothes so fast that we barely got you to wear all of them once. We bought several things that you wore once and never wore again.

Now that you're mobile, it's hard to get you to pose for pictures. When we put you next to your mouse, you were constantly flipping over,

crawling toward the camera,

pulling her on top of you, etc. We only got a couple good photos. The rest are you flipping around. At one point in the photo shoot, you were trying to get away from the mouse and you hit your head on the wall. :( Both you and Mommy were a bucket of tears. I held you and rocked you while we cried. You ended up with a little red mark for a little while that night. You can see it in some of the pictures.



Sweet baby, keep growing strong and big! I miss your little baby toes and face, but that beautiful little baby is being replaced by a smiling, happy, GORGEOUS little girl. Everyone who sees you (and I mean everyone) compliments you. They are always commenting on your big eyes and long eyelashes. I know I'm biased because I'm your mommy, but I really think you're the most beautiful little girl I've ever laid eyes on. I'm so thankful I get to look at you every day. You're going to grow into such a pretty, intelligent woman. Don't ever let that go to your head! Don't be vain or conceited! Just know in your heart that you are pretty. Be confident!



I love you so so much! Get ready baby, the countdown is on! Only 3 more months until your 1 year birthday. Let the planning begin!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Children's Book Alert:



This is a MUST READ:

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I stood in Ta.r.get reading this book, and by the end, I was crying my eyes out. Don't let the cover fool you, it is not a book about going potty. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Back on topic...

Every adoptive parent who worries about the future, or being "not enough," needs to read this post It warmed my heart. And while we have an open adoption, and I hope that Meerkat will always know where she came from, etc. it's helpful to read. Enjoy!

Not Baby Related.

I'm having a horrible day. HORRIBLE!

-- I woke up with a splitting headache.
-- Said headache turned into a raging migraine.
-- A deal that I'm working on is going sour, FAST.
-- I offended a potential customer without intending to. She is divorced... I asked for her husband. She was very mean to me.
-- Migraine is currently making waves of nausea strike me -- while I'm teaching.
-- It's super hot in this classroom, and I'm wearing a sweater. I feel like I'm going to pass out.

Okay... I'm done complaining for the time being. Please send good vibes my way. I need this day to improve.

Friday, April 1, 2011

On the move!

Meerkat is crawling up a storm! It's hard to keep her under control - and we don't have the house babyproofed yet.

We're going shopping this weekend for babyproofing items. Do you have any absolutely necessary babyproofing suggestions? I know the obvious:

-Baby gates
-outlet covers
-edge protectors (I don't know if this is what they're called, but they round out sharp edges on furniture.

But I have no idea what other things I should be getting. I'd love your suggestions.

I think we're also going to have to lower the crib soon... she's starting to try to pull up on things.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8 Months!


Dear Meerkat,

So, Mommy is late posting this again... but I blame it on being behind last month because of our being sick.

Eight months - can it be? How have these months flown by so fast? I was looking at videos and pictures of you as a tiny, newborn baby, and I can barely remember you being so tiny. Your small, thin legs; your little chubby cheeks; your balding hair. Now, you're a long, happy, curly-headed little girl. You look so old to me now, compared to those pictures.

You're so much fun this month (well, you've always been fun... but you interact more now). You love to play, and you will play with Mommy and Daddy for as long as we'll let you. You even let Mommy play with you. You're my living doll sometimes. In fact, I went to put a bow in your hair one day, and couldn't stop myself...



I got carried away! You were just so peaceful about the whole thing. You didn't even mind that I was messing with your hair. (Just know, I never took you in public like this... this was only for around the house... oh, and online :p)

This month, you've taken to crawling backward. And, you spin around and around to get where you want to go. You don't have much interest in getting places though. You just kind of chill wherever you are, and you're happy to sit in your playpen or on our laps.

I don't know how much longer that will last, but let me take this moment to say just how much I love those moments. There is nothing in this life better than snuggling with you. Sitting in the recliner, cradling you, rocking you, looking into your big brown eyes, stroking your hair -- those moments are HEAVEN, pure and simple. I dread the day that you start to roll and pull away from me to go play on the floor or to just be independent, because I know those moments won't come back again.

Speaking of snuggling and love, you've started doing this cute thing when you get excited. If Daddy makes a funny face at you, or makes you laugh, while Mommy's holding you, you will turn your face into my shoulder real fast and snuggle into me while laughing. It's so cute I could just pass out from the cuteness. :)

-------

This was the month of "on the verge." You were so close to doing everything: crawling, pulling up, getting into a seated position from laying down, etc. You could get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth; you could grab furniture and pull yourself a little off the ground, you could roll back onto your hip from your stomach... but you were just short of actually completing those tasks.

This was also the first month that we've had nice weather since you were a tiny, tiny baby. So, we were able to take you to the park. You LOVED the swings, just like mommy. They were always my favorite part of the park.



You're still super smiley. Everything is funny to you. Daddy especially makes you giggle. You love everything he does. You're a daddy's girl for sure.



Mommy is away working a lot, but when I walk in the door you smile and laugh. It's so nice to see you so happy to see me. You laugh at TV. Specifically, you like the "reading of the will" commercial for some cable tv or satelite... I don't really even know what it's an ad for, but you think it's great.

When it comes to TV, there are certain things you love. You love Nick Jr. I'm happy to see you enjoy it so much, but there are some shows that I just can't stand. Do.r.a the E.xpl.orer and Di.e.go are two shows that get under my skin. They repeat themselves so much that it drives me crazy! They're great ideas for a show... but really... if I hear "I'm the map" one more time... !!! What you really like are the end credits of shows, and not just Nick Jr. You like the end credits of all TV shows. It's a strange thing to like, but if the end credits to a show come on, you stop everything to watch them. You won't even turn when we yell for you while the credits are rolling. I'm not sure what you like about them. It's cute, and I'm glad to write it out and have a record of it for you to see someday.

My sweet girl, you've stolen my heart more than you will ever be able to know. I wish there was some way for me to take this love I have for you and put it in your heart for one minute... just long enough for you to always know how connected, attached, in love I am with you. I would do anything for you... absolutely anything.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Work.

Updating our homestudy, as it's been over a year since it was completed. We want to keep it active so we are open to foster and adopt scenarios from our SW. It's supposed to be easier to update the homestudy than to let it expire and do the whole process again... but I beg to differ. It's pretty much the exact same process. No, we didn't have to attend a semester of classes, but we did have to read seven "modules" (chapters) and do homework. We do have to go to CPI training refresher (2-3 hours), medicine administration training, and CPR Refresher. We have to redo our finances. We have to get the cats vaccinated; we have to get Meerkat a physical and have the doctor fill out a form. We have to get copies of our insurances. We have to write several paragraphs about the types of adoption related training/reading/etc. we've done over the course of the last year. We have to do the interview process again.

It's work!

But, it's worth it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Numbers...

I like to watch the "all races" section of our adoption facilitattorney's (I'll call them that because they're neither agent nor facilitator, but rather a hybrid of the two mixed with attorney...) website. The numbers are astounding to me... in more ways than one. Let me break it down to show you some things I've noticed:

1. On February 2nd, I counted all of the couples adopting through our facilitattorney and there were more than 260 families waiting to be matched. Only 13 of them were willing to accept all races. This bothers me in some ways, and also makes me feel such a strong connection with these 13 couples, even though I don't know them. Why? Because I am able to follow their journey by watching their pictures on this website. I don't have any contact with them (save one couple who blog), and yet, I feel like I'm following their adoption journey just the same.

2. Two weeks ago, the "all races" group was down to 8 waiting families. Just 8! I was so pleased that families were getting matched.

3. Today, there are 11 couples on the list... and none of them are new faces. That means that in the last couple weeks, 3 families have experienced some sort of disruption, whether their own decision or that of the first family. This breaks my heart...

4. Of the 11 couples on the list right now, 4 couples have been waiting since we were matched one year ago today. And a couple others were added to the list not long after that.

Dear families who are waiting to be matched with that special baby who will make your life bloom:

I am your silent cheerleader. You probably don't know I exist. You probably feel so alone and miserable in your wait. You probably feel down about the process in general, or maybe you've experienced a disruption and feel the worst kind of down right now.

I am rooting for you all. Every time one of your faces disappears from the list, I am filled with hope and excitement for you, and I pray I don't see your face back on the list until you put it there for your next little one.

I am sending you good vibes; wishing you well; putting all my hope out there for you. I truly hope you special people will have your precious one SOON!

Until then, I'll keep watching and counting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thinking of Friends

Tonight, while working on advertisements for real estate, grading papers for my classes, and taking little breaks to post pictures on facebook, I saw a status update from a couple I've taken a liking to since we started this adoption blog a year and a half ago.

This couple is now experiencing a disruption in an adoption they've been hoping for for a while now, and that they had been cautiously preparing their homes and hearts for over the last couple months.

My heart is breaking for them. If you two are reading this, please know just how much I hurt for you.

----

This adoption road is a tricky one, isn't it? On one hand, this is a loss for a loving couple who had grown to love the idea of this child, as if they were pregnant and waiting for their baby to be in their arms. The same type of loss a mother may feel when giving her baby up for adoption, or if, God forbid, she experience a miscarriage.

Loss in adoption.

I think about it a lot.

Loss.

Why does something so beautiful have to contain such a horrible thing -- Loss. Emptiness. Aching. Hurt. What-ifs.

If the adoption goes through, the first mother experiences the loss of her child. The first family experiences the loss of the baby. The baby experiences the loss of her first mother/family.

If the adoption fails, the adoptive couple experiences the loss of a child - a loss no less painful than any other.

----

But, I am of the belief that adoption is a beautiful thing, and that when all things work out right, and if the adoption is able to be open, everyone gains rather than loses. The first family gains a new couple to love. The couple gains a new family to love. The baby gains connections to her past, present, and future.

This couple I've spoken of have always been super conscious of the importance of the first mother, and it is clear that they honor and respect this role. I hope that another opportunity will present itself to them soon, and that it will allow them the opportunity to share this love and respect with the first mom and family. I hope that their next opportunity will be an adoption filled with gains rather than losses.

My heart aches and grieves for you both right now. I am wishing the best for your days to come, and hoping you have some peace.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On my plate

I feel like I'm constantly apologizing for not posting lately... Please know, the posting will pick up more after school's out. But I will continue to try and post as often as possible until then.

Here's why:

-- I teach English at TWO universities. At one of these schools, I teach a full courseload. I teach one three hour evening class at the other.

-- In addition to teaching these classes, I have to grade... a lot. I have about 100+ students total. They write approx. 6 formal writing assignments (a total of about 30 pages per student each semester, not counting homeworks/informal writings/quizzes that must be graded.) This means about 3,000 pages of writing that I must read over the course of a semester. I not only have to read these pages, but I must comment on every single one. Yeah. It takes FOREVER.

-- I am also a realtor. I spend two days a week in the office, and I spend as much time as necessary out in the field showing and listing houses.

-- As you know from following the blog, I am also a new mommy. I want to dedicate as much free time as I can to my beautiful, curly headed baby. :)

Soooooo.... I promise, I will attempt to blog frequently, because I love keeping track of what's going on in baby's life and ours. But, if I am spare in my blogging, the above reasons are why.

I will be done teaching in May, and that's when I will have significant free time.

***Please note: I am not complaining about my jobs. I love what I do. I'm just commenting on the amount of time I have to dedicate to said jobs.

<3

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

7 Months!


Dear Meerkat!

Sweet girl, you've grown up so much. Seven months changes a baby so much, and you're proof. Your long, skinny legs have chubbed up and gotten even longer. Your long, fine, baby hair fell out and then grew back full and super curly. And, you've got SO MUCH OF IT! Your tiny fingers are controlled and purposeful now. Your smile gets bigger every month, and your laugh gets louder and fuller. You're starting to look more and more like a little girl, and less like a baby.

You got sick for the first time this month, and it was followed quickly by your second sickness. Mommy and Daddy have also been very sick this month. But, we're all getting better now. Your doctor put you on albuterol, and it has helped you stop coughing so much. Your little stuffy nose has cleared up. Now, if Mommy could stop coughing, we'd be a healthy family again!

I mentioned your hair earlier, but I forgot to mention that it's now long enough for bows! I can clip them directly in your hair now; no need to use a headband. The bows make you look even more like a big girl.



You still don't crawl, but you tolerate being on your tummy much more nowadays. You scoot backward, so I think it's only a matter of time before you figure crawling out.

You love to eat! Your favorite foods are carrots, peas, and avocados. You would eat them by the bowlfuls if you could. Mommy makes everything homemade, except the carrots. I've read that nitrates are bad in carrots when homemade, and I'd rather not risk it. So, you have those jarred. You HATE fruits. We've tried bananas and apples. You tolerate the apples, but you'd just as soon not eat them at all, if you had your choice. You also don't really care for apple juice. I think it's funny that you like veggies so much, and it makes me happy. Peas are one of my favorite veggies, so I'm especially happy you like them. Daddy hates peas, so now that you like them, I'll have an excuse to keep some in the house.



You started saying "bababa" this month. And most recently, you've started clicking your tongue. You love to play independently for long stretches now, and you will coo, and ba, and click to yourself all the while. Your favorite toy this month has been your "cookie jar" of blocks. You will sit in the playpen and pull the blocks out one by one. You also seem to love this little froggie that has chewie hands and bells in his tummy. You will play with him for a long time, if we let you. You also like this little crocodile toy that Grandma S. got you for Christmas.



You also enjoy Nic.k Jr. You laugh and laugh at Mo.ose and Z. It's so neat to see you interacting with things, and showing interest in specific things.

I can't wait to see what this next month brings. I love you so much!

Love,
Mommy