Saturday, April 30, 2011

William's After-Bath Ritual

All clean after my bath!
Gettin' greased up with baby oil - my skin loves it so much, it gets it twice a day!
Gettin' my feet nice & greased up...
Last, but not least, my hair gets a deep conditioning product before bed to keep it soft & healthy!

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Sillies (A Picture Post)

So proud (and drooly, he's cutting a bunch of new teeth, too)!

Memory Verse of the Week

Our family memory verse this week is John 3:16, sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me":

For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son
That whoever believes in Him
Shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
John 3:16
John 3:16
For God so loved the world!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meatball Pudding

Shep experienced tapioca pudding for the first time today.

When I asked for a bite, he gave me one and said, 
"Here you go, Mama.  There's meatballs in it!"   

Mmmm, nothing like meatball pudding.  Man, I love that kid.

Ooooooh Ooh, Caffeine!

My daily coffee habit began when Shep was born.  I am not a morning person & my a.m. coffee ritual helps make those early morning wake-up calls much  more bearable.  (Before, I enjoyed my coffee, but could certainly get through the day without it).

Now that I have to keep up with TWO boys, I have added a new "sweet tea in the afternoon" (or late morning, depending on the day) habit.  After all, it's a harmless little boost to help me get through the day.

My question is: 
what will happen if we follow through with our plans for *FOUR* children???

Yikes, I don't even want to think about the amount of caffeine I will have to consume.  Guess I'll have to get creative (shot of espresso with dinner, anyone?  King-size Hershey bar for lunch?).

how scary I'd look without caffeine

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Family Cook-Out of the Season

Shep, Conner, & Joey - the roughians
I forgot poor Shep's bathing suit so underwear had to suffice!
Ailey & Conner, brother & sister
Littlest member of the family, Maevy
With her Mama, Jen
Billy with our neice, Carly & William
William with Yours Truly
Honey (my Mom) & William
Making ice cream with Pop (my Dad) - yum!
Honey with 2 of her boys

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cookie Fun

I made a big Easter Egg shaped cookie for Shep to decorate...
with icing, food color "watercolor", & sprinkles...
you can see that he had eaten half before he was done decorating!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sleep Woes

William would MUCH rather sleep on or near us than in his crib!  Who can blame him after all the affection he has missed out in life?  

So, we are indulging him a little, but also requiring him to sleep on his own most of the time, even though it means we are letting him cry it out, which I hadn't planned on doing so soon after he came home.  

It is one of those things I decided I just have to do in order to keep my own sanity.  I was spending way too much time, energy, & patience soothing him to sleep for naptimes, bedtimes, & all hours of the night!  

Fortunately, he is showing signs of attachment so I'm not too worried that crying it out is going to affect his sense of security.  We are also doing more of a gradual cry it out method (going in the room to reassure him every 5-15 minutes), rather than just ignoring him completely.  That way he knows we are still here even when he can't see us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If You're Waiting for Your Child...

1. Read, read, read up on adoptive parenting.  Especially read about attachment (Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray is my favorite, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft is good, too).  Having done both, I can say without a doubt - adoptive parenting is very different from biological parenting, at least in the beginning (unless you're adopting a newborn).  I cannot stress how important it has been for me to have in my head (from reading) the signs of attachment and how to foster it.

2. Prepare to be flexible.  All that great reading filled my head with all these wonderful ideas & plans we tried to put into place when William arrived.  But in reality, we had to figure out what worked for us & throw the rest out the window.  Some of the ideas are great in theory but hard to put into practice when you are imperfect humans who are exhausted and living in survival mode (not to mention caring for other children, working, etc.). 

3. Cut your child some slack.   They have been through SOOO much in their short lives (again, unless you're adopting a newborn).  They will come to you with some undesirable behaviors, noises, smells, etc.  They may be "behind" their American peers.  It's unfair to compare them to the children around you who have not been torn from biological families, placed in an orphanage, then handed off to complete strangers in a strange land.  It will take time for them to learn and understand your expectations of them.  This is a good opportunity to show them grace.  

4.  Cut yourself some slack.  You are not God.  You are not even a superhuman.  Let yourself take naps & go to bed early.  Accept help & meals from everyone who offers.  Leave your child (with someone they trust) when you need a break - even if it just means you trade off breaks with your spouse.  Accept the fact that attachment is a two-way street and it's OK if you don't ooze love for your child immediately.  For some of us, it takes a little time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chow Time

William is a great eater!  He has made a few scrunchy faces, but has yet to refuse anything we have fed him.  Makes my job pretty easy.  I made almost all of Shep's baby food, but have ended up buying most of William's!  The last few days have been the first time I have felt I could spare a few minutes to steam, food process, dish up, freeze, & bag some homemade baby food for him.  You know what they say about the second child...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bible Verses for Toddlers

In an effort to begin teaching Shep to memorize Bible verses, we are using the songs from this site.  Cheesey, yes, but it works...

This week, our "Bible Song" is sung to the tune of "The Muffin Man":

Serve one another in love
in love, in love.
Serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I am reading the Bible again for the first time since William came home.  I am coming out of my exhausted stupor & it feels so good to get back into some self-care rituals, Bible-reading being one of those things that feeds my soul best.  But that's not my confession.

Today, I read James 1:17:
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Here's my confession: I have been so fixated on what is wrong with William since he came home.  With all the doctor's appointments & Early Intervention assessments, I have been consumed with what we need to work on, improve, "fix," medicate, assess, evaluate, & seek therapeutic intervention for.  I have not allowed myself to appreciate him for who he is - a gift to our family, to this world.  God created him just the way he is, whether he is ever healthy by the world's standards, he is just right in God's eyes.

Lord, help me see my sweet son through Your perfect eyes, rather than my sinful ones.  Teach me to be the Mama he needs me to be - gently pushing him to be all he can be, yet still accepting him just the way he is.  Show me where the balance is.  Help me to lay aside the world's standards and values and take on Your's instead.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Nap

Now that he's a big brother, Shep doesn't think he needs a nap anymore (it doesn't matter because Mama still needs the break!).  We put him down for nap, but as soon as we leave the room, we hear him in there playing.  But some days, he finally surrenders on the floor snuggled up with his BaBas (his 2 sheep Pillow Pets)...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake: Embracing Imperfection

I am a rather structured, rule-following mom.  I like to have a plan and stick to it, especially when it comes to my family.  I am picky about what we eat, who babysits, chemicals in our home, diapers, bedtimes & naptimes, yada yada.  But, let me just say, the last few weeks, much of this has gone straight out the window!  
We have had fast food more than I care to mention.  We have had some emotional eating offenses (don't want to think about how many cookies, cupcakes, brownies, & mounds of ice cream I have consumed).  

I have let the housework go by the wayside.  I have no intentions of digging out the cloth diapers any time soon.  

We have accepted babysitting offers (even though we said we wouldn't leave William with sitters for several months).  
And here is why:  sometimes you just can't do it all.  Life throws curveballs & you have to roll with the punches. There are some things that are not worth stressing over, that have to be let go.  Sometimes I need to ask myself, "Will this issue really matter in 5, 10, 20 years?"  Sometimes I just need to say, "Let's eat some cake!" (or else we may all just lose our minds).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

William: Health/Sleeping/Development (and a video!)

Healthwise, we think the Giardia (parasite) is gone.  All 4 of us were on an antibiotic for quite some time & it seems to have done the trick.  William still struggles with ear infections, congestion, coughing, etc.  We will continue to see the doctor regularly until this is under control.  An ENT doctor may be in our near future.

When it comes to sleeping, there is some room for improvement!  William has gotten on our sleeping schedule, but still wakes up multiple times most nights & sometimes during naptime, too.  His crib is in our room for now, but we plan on moving it into Shep's room once William is sleeping through the night consistently.  Let's hope that's soon cause we need our sleep to keep up with these busy boys!!!

Developmentally, William seems more like a 6-month-old than a 15-month-old.  He sits on his own, holds toys, "army crawls," coos, laughs, & needs help eating most foods.  We have meetings with Early Intervention next week to have him assessed for therapies & have his hearing & vision screenings.  Maybe this will give us an idea of what his long-term prognosis will be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Attachment Update: 3 Weeks Home

Tomorrow marks 3 weeks since William came home.  They have been some really rough, beautiful, encouraging, discouraging, emotional, heart-warming weeks!

We can definitely see that William is bonding to us, which is VERY encouraging!  He visually "checks in" with us often, cries when we leave his sight, is comforted by our presence, smiles when he sees us, etc.  I would echo what many other adoptive parents have said - attachment has probably been harder for us than for him.  Right now, it is still a choice to love him most of the time - it doesn't just flow out of us like it does for Shep.  But we are trusting this will change with time, and we will love our children equally.

As brothers, Shep & William are doing really well.  Shep has regressed some, as we expected.  But he has also excelled at some things since becoming a Big Brother.  He definitely likes having William around and interacts with him a lot.  William adores Shep & is always trying to get in on whatever Shep is doing.  We have had to break up some toddler squabbles but that's just part of being a family!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

New House

We moved in 7 weeks ago, William came home 2 weeks ago - I didn't get around to posting pics of the new house until now.  So here we go - better late than never!  We really love this house.  It is smaller than our old house, but is the perfect size for us.  I always struggled to keep the old house clean because of the size.  Built in the 1940's & has tons of character.  Best of all, it is a a huge blessing to us financially :)