Thursday, August 31, 2006

Express Yourself

It's raining. It's 10 a.m. We're still in our p.j.'s. What kind of faces can you kids make?









Saturday, August 26, 2006

Three Years Ago Today...

... you, beautiful baby girl, were born to two teenaged parents with hearts full of love
... an adoption plan was beginning to be formed, and Daddy and I would be chosen to parent you
... we had no idea you were coming into our lives, and had just decided to move back "home" to be close to family again
... our nursery was waiting for a child to come home, but was filled to the brim with extra furniture that we were sorting through
... we didn't know that a precious baby would change our lives forever in just a short while
... we were two days away from meeting our daughter, and falling in love

Happy 3rd Birthday, Abby. We love you so very much.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Free to a good home

Does anyone need a size 3T shirt sporting a scantily-clad Esmeralda from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Warning - it may come to you unwashed and wet from one little girl's tears!

This particular shirt has been deemed the "princess shirt" and has been worn all-day, every day for the last week. It's starting to get a little dingy, quite frankly. The only time Abby has parted with the beloved shirt is for her bath, but before her hair can dry she is looking for the shirt (which I have quickly hidden in the bottom of the laundry pile). I personally find the shirt to be pretty ugly, so I cringe to bring her out in public with it (what will the other mothers think? hahaha!).

But, I guess the situation could be worse - she could be attached to a pair of underwear!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Some Days I Need an Extra Dose of Patience

Me: "Abby and Ethan, it's time for a snack! Would you like Cheez-its or a fruit bar?"
Ethan: "Cheez-its!"
Abby: "Fruit bar! A green one!"
Me: "Abby... you for sure want a green fruit bar, right?"
Abby: "Yes, Mommy."
[Said snacks are distributed]
Abby: "No, Mommy! Pink fruit bar!"
[Pink fruit bar is given in exchange]
Abby (franticly): "No, Mommy! I want Cheez-its!!"
Me: "Abby, I gave you the pink fruit bar like you asked. It's already opened up. You may not have Cheez-its right now. You get to eat the yummy pink fruit bar."
Abby (throwing fruit bar across table and babbling incoherently): "ahamamfjwerr Cheez-its ughemshgtrls Mommy ryrofurkljf no fruit bar!"
[I ignore her and walk away, cleaning up as she wails]
Abby (now a blubbering ball of slobber): "aaaaaaaaaaaaah oooooooooooooh sob sob waaaaaah"
[I am still ignoring her and cleaning up]
Ethan (eyeing her uneaten snack): "Abby - I have fruit bar??"
Abby (all wailing stops immediately): "No, Ethan!! MY fruit bar."
[And Abby proceeds to eat her pink fruit bar]

One of the *many* reasons I love Mark

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Great Camp-out

Friday, 5:00 p.m. We've arrived at our campsite. As anticipated, we are the farthest site out. A fire pit and a picnic table are all that distinguish our lot from the surrounding forest. The parking lot is approximately 1/4 mile away, as Mark can attest to since he walked the trail approximately 37 times to bring our gear back. Thank goodness for Becky, and her endless supply of camping equipment that was loaned to us. It will make our first camping experience as a family much more enjoyable.

Friday, 6:00 p.m. Mark is putting up the tent now, and the kids have explored every inch of our surroundings. They especially like to play in the dirt with the beach toys we brought. All of their explorating has caused them to grow too hungry to wait for a campfire. It's time to dig into the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I have packed. Oh - wait - Mark can't find the tent stakes. Time to call Becky to ask where they might be.

Friday, 6:10 p.m. Becky tells me that Ryan had put them in the outside pocket of the tent bag. We rechecked the pocket, and it is empty. Mark will have to get creative. He's hunting for small branches now to pound into the ground.
We have visitors! Mark's Aunt Sue, Aunt Marianne and Uncle Jim just trekked back to our campsite. They are staying at the same campground in their RV's, and have come to welcome us. I'm sure they're impressed by Mark's wooden stakes; it matches the primitive atmosphere of our campsite. I think we'll all take a walk to check out the rest of the campground and to visit Aunt Sue's RV.

Friday, 7:45 p.m. After a good visit at Aunt Sue's, and a trip to the park playground, we are back to our site. It's time to start our campfire!

Friday, 10:00 p.m. We're off to the tent to get the kids to bed. They loved the s'mores, Abby especially loved to roast marshmallows. We sang a few songs, and enjoyed the campfire smell. They kids are dirty, and loving every second of it. Once the kids are asleep, Mark and I will sit around the fire a bit more. Ahhh... beautiful nature.

Saturday, 7:20 a.m. There is rustling in our tent... little children stirring from their sleep. The sound of birds and other campers fills the air. It's time to start our day! But boy, is it chilly. It was supposed to go below 50 degrees last night, and it sure feels like it did.

Saturday, 11:00 a.m.
After a fun-filled morning exploring, gathering pinecones and playing in the dirt, we're off to our next adventure - Mark's extended family reunion. It's just a short walk to the picnic area where family is already starting to gather. It should be fun! I hope we don't smell too much...

Saturday, 1:45 p.m. The reunion has been a lot of fun, with a lot of good food. Abby and Ethan have been running around all over, but Ethan is definitely slowing down. It's time to try a nap - I will take him to the tent while Mark and Abby enjoy the reunion.

Saturday, 6:00 p.m. We've left the picnic in order to scrounge up some dinner. We've had hotdogs for lunch, and it doesn't sound very appealing right now. So we'll try some canned ravioli with green beans and grapes. It's not the most deluxe camping meal, but it is simple, which is what this weekend is about.

Saturday, 9:00 p.m. After dinner, we headed back to Aunt Sue's RV. There were lots of people there from the picnic, and there was a lot of food. The kids roasted hotdogs over the campfire, while I opted for a cup of coffee. We visited while the kids played with sandtoys, and then walked back to our campsite and started our own campfire. Tonight's treat was cinnamon sugar sprinkled on bread cooked over the fire. Pretty yummy! We're putting the kids to bed now --- Abby is running on fumes! Then we'll enjoy some more adult time by the fire. What a vacation this has been!

Sunday, 8:15 a.m. The kids are waking up now. We haven't slept until 8:15 ... um... ever? This fresh air and fun is sure doing us all a lot of good. I haven't felt this relaxed in a long while. And I am so happy to see the kids having so much fun.

Sunday, 11:00 a.m. We've packed the van, and are ready to head home from our terrific vacation. Next stop, a big breakfast at a restaurant on our way home! And this week we will definitely have to look for a sale on tents - we're doing this again for sure!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Baby Feeders

WARNING - this post is about breasts. Stop reading now if you are uncomfortable!!

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this picture on the cover of BabyTalk magazine. There are a lot of people who think breastfeeding should be hidden from view (and I agree with discretion). But the comments people are making about this photo - equating it with pornography - give me a break! Breast feeding is God's amazing system of feeding our young. It is not sexual. It is not "dirty." It's a beautiful, natural thing.

I have mentioned in this post that breastfeeding is one of the things about infertility that I'm grieving. But I didn't mention that I tried it. A woman who has not just born a child can actually induce lactation, it's true. And because I had a strong desire to bond with my baby in this way -and- to provide the baby with good [free] nutrition, I decided to try to induce lactation. The most effective protocol recommends use of birth control pills, use of a breast pump, and use of a drug called Domperidone (which has a side effect of breast milk production). We weren't comfortable taking an unnecessary drug, and weren't comfortable with birth control pills [we practice Natural Family Planning], so I was on a pumping-only regime while we were waiting to see if the potential adoption (before Abby) would happen. For about a month, I pumped on a regular schedule, ramping up to every three hours, and once during the night. After a month, I wasn't producing any milk (and really, there were no noticable changes going on either). So, I just kind of let the regime dwindle back down to nothing. A month after that, the adoption fell through, and 2 months after that, Abby was born.

When we brought Abby from the hospital, I tried to get her to latch on to my breast, similar to using a pacifier. We would spend five minutes working on it, and eventually give up and move on to other things. I was successful at getting a latch a couple of times, so I knew it was time to try actual feeding.

I had an apparatus that would supply formula through a tube that was attached to my breast. With the apparatus, when a baby tried to nurse, they would receive the formula through this "straw." The apparatus was a royal pain in the rear to get ready, and then to attach. When that was all set, it was time to try latching. I would put Abby to the breast, and she would flail all over [some things never change]. She would try to suckle, and get frustrated quickly. She would start to wail. And I would start to wail.

After a week of really trying to breastfeed, Mark suggested that maybe I should forgive myself if it wasn't going to work. I was so relieved. I had been feeling guilty about wanting to give up, and feeling like such a failure. It was nice to be able to forgive myself. Mark said that he had hoped I could breastfeed, but that not breastfeeding wasn't going to ruin Abby. I was very sad that I didn't breastfeed, but I was having a hard enough time adjusting to parenthood and couldn't dedicate all of the energy needed to breastfeeding. Had I been a breastfeeding mom, I'd like to think I would have been able to breastfeed discreetly, even in public. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful thing.

One of the blogs I regularly read is written by Kateri. She has a great post about the BabyTalk controversy, asking for women to post indiscreet nursing photos on their own blogs. She lists the links to them here. Check it out - if you dare.