Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Splish Splash, I Was Takin' a Bath!



William is quite the little fish!  He will stay in the tub and splash around as long as we let him.  He even puts his face in the water and doesn't mind when we wash his hair (a very traumatic event for Shep, regardless of the fact that it happens several times a week!).  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sibling Jealousy

These pictures sort of give you an idea of how Shep is adjusting to having a sibling.  He found a tube of lipstick while I was playing with William and...



you get the idea.

He loves William - no doubt about it.  But he is experiencing some jealousy, too, and, not having the words to express it, he is acting out a little - who can blame him? 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thoughts on Our First Week Together

In many ways, this week has felt like a lifetime!  One word comes to mind to describe it: breakthrough.  

William has had so many breakthroughs this week!  His pediatrician said we should expect 6 months of development over the next 3 months and she wasn't kidding.  He is eating better, his gross motor strength and coordination are better, he is "rocking" like he might start crawling, he is showing signs of attachment to us, and his digestive issues have improved tremendously.  

I have been blown away by how much harder this was for us than when Shep arrived - probably for a variety of reasons.  A breakthrough for me this week was making a pointed effort to accept every bit of help we were offered.  Accepting help is really hard for me.  But, let's face it, we really need it!  Thank you to everyone who has checked in on us, offered encouragement, meals, housecleaning, watching Shep, laundry help, etc.  We would not be able to get through this without you - I mean that.

The most important breakthrough for me this week, though, is the little seed of love that has planted itself in my heart for William.  He came to us sick, smelly, unhappy, needy.  I started the week willing myself to hold him, to kiss him, to gaze into his eyes as I fed him bottles.  I lost my patience a lot.  I wondered if he was the right child for us.  I thought, What have we done?  

But, tonight was different.  As I sat rocking him and feeding him his bedtime bottle, I studied every little detail of his face and actually enjoyed it.  He closed his eyes as he drank and I stared on, admiring his rich chocolate skin in the evening light, enjoying the feel of his smooth little hand under mine as we held the bottle, noticing the cute little curls that are beginning to grow in, and leaning in to inhale the sweet smell of his freshly bathed face.  And for the first time I thought, I really love this child.  So much love that came welling up and spilled over onto my cheeks.

Thank you, God, for answering my prayers - for filling my heart with love for this little stranger.  I asked you to help me see him through Your eyes and I am beginning to catch a glimpse.  You are so faithful...


Two Boys in a Bed

We had both boys in Shep's bed trying to do Storytime together before bedtime.  So far, we have not been successful in this endeavor because William is not into books at all!  He just spends the whole time grabbing at people and making loud noises, which distracts Shep (it doesn't take much).  Hopefully we will be able to foster a love of reading in William even with our late start!  I do love reading, especially with my little ones.


(They do look pretty cute together in their jammies though, don't they?)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Snapshot: Popo Time

"Popo Time" was a 4-times-a-day occurance in William's toddler room at the Orphanage.  For about 30 minutes, each toddler sat on their own little potty & did their business as they scooted around and played.  It is quite a sight to behold!  We are carrying on the tradition here at home as well and William is responding well.  We play with toys, sing songs, & read books to pass the time.

We started him on a second antibiotic for Giardia yesterday & he is down to 1 [semi-normal] poo a day now - YAY!!!  Here, Shep is "reading" a book to William as he does his business.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Picture Post: Wake Up, William!

Wake up, Willliam!  Naptime's over!
I say Wake Up!!!
Maybe if I pull the covers off...
Let's try a kiss...
Hmmm, Guess I'll just hang out here 'til he wakes up...
Eventually, everyone gave up & let the poor baby sleep, but Mama couldn't resist snapping a few pictures...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4 Day Update

We have turned the corner!  Hallelujah!  We are beginning to find our groove as a family of four.  We are feeling much less overwhelmed.  I have to say, I'm shocked we're feeling so much better already - we both felt we were in over our heads those first few days & feared that it might never get better!  We have not yet found our new normal but are definitely on our way.   
An example of us not being there yet: when trying to comfort William in the middle of the night, he smacked me in the face (on accident, but still - he's no weakling!), I had to hand him off to Billy before I lost my cool.  So, things are not perfect, but better.  God is good.
Yes, I look like H*LL here.  This will not be my new normal, but for now, I am embracing it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let's Try This Again: Picture Post

The hair-pulling is a bit of a problem.  We're working on it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2 Day Update

William has been home for 2 days now.  We are all struggling.  Mainly because he is sick, but also because adding a new family member is always challenging.  


Double ear infections.  Diarrhea.  Chest & nasal congestion.  William is not a happy camper.  We had a great, productive first doctor's visit today.  An antibiotic was prescribed for his ear infection and we will go to the lab tomorrow to turn in a stool sample and have blood drawn.  Hopefully that will help us get the diarrhea under control because, let me tell you, it is OUT OF CONTROL!  Really foul blowouts are a regular occurance around here.


On the bright side, William is sleeping pretty good so far.  He was up twice the first night, for a total of 3 hours.  Last night, he was just up once for 2 hours.  He has been going to bed around normal bedtime & napping around normal naptime.  We are very grateful for this!  The only sleep struggle is getting him there.  He does not respond well to being laid in the crib awake.  So we have to give him a bottle &/or rock & sing him to sleep, wait until he is in a deep sleep, then lay him down.  Or if we are lazy, we let him sleep on us or between us in the bed.


Another positive is that he is eating really well!  He would drink as many bottles as we would give him but we are trying to limit them to 3 or 4 a day (using them when he needs comfort) since he only got 1 a day at the orphanage - don't want to upset his system with too much dairy in case that is contributing (or causing) the diarrhea situation.  


Shep is adjusting to having a brother pretty much as we expected - he likes William most of the time, but sometimes he is clearly resentful.  We have heard a lot of whining and had a few unnecessary meltdowns.  But we have also had some very sweet moments between the two of them (pictures of that to come).


Hoping to get pictures uploaded tomorrow - sorry it's taking so long.  We are just struggling to keep our heads above water around here these days!

Gotta Keep On Keepin On...

We're off to a rough start, folks.  Both boys are sick.  We're off to the doctor's office now.  Please pray they get well soon & that we find our "new normal" soon after!  Will post more updates when I can.  We haven't uploaded pics yet, but will when we get a free moment...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home

Billy and William arrived home from Ethiopia this afternoon.  It was a beautiful homecoming - really perfect.  Shep & I met our extended family at the airport at 2:30.  We hung out, the kids played with the balloons and made Welcome signs, we ate cupcakes, my friend Kelly took pictures.  


At 3:15, Billy strolled through the gates carrying our Baby Boy.  I melted when I caught a glimpse of our son peeking out of the Ergo carrier.  Billy & I were both teary.  Poor William's little eyes struggled to stay open - 30 hours of travel had been really hard on him.


We went down the escalator and our family welcomed our new arrival with open arms.  There were many tears, lots of smiles, multiple cameras flashing.  Shep met his brother for the first time and it was love at first sight - for both of them.  Very cute.  Shep wanted to "help" so bad it was killing him.  He was bringing "Winam" toys, trying to wipe his face off, bringing him his bottle, etc.  And William couldn't take his eyes off Shep.


About an hour after the arrival, Billy & I headed home with William.  The rest of the family took Shep to a cook-out & sleep-over at Honey & Pop's house.  This was not planned, but I'm so thankful now for the time to focus completely on our new baby for the first night.  Having Shep here would have just complicated things.


The first couple hours with our new baby were a little rough, I'm not gonna lie!  We felt like first-time parents all over again, trying to decipher his cries, offering different foods because we don't know what he likes, worrying he was going to choke on the teething biscuit, hating to put him down for even a moment because he would start crying, learning what soothes him and how to put him to sleep.  


In all honesty, I'm just getting to know him & feel more like his babysitter than his mama at this point.  Fortunately, I have been through this before so I know it will come with time, just like it did with Shep.


Things got easier as the evening wore on and we were eventually able to get some solid food in his belly.  He also perked up and warmed up to me enough to let me hold and feed him (which allowed Billy the break he desperately needed!).  He even fell asleep in my arms for the first time while I was rocking him and singing to him.


So, all in all things are good.  No cake walk - mainly because of the poo situation (I'll post more on that some other time).  Right now I am going to go take heed of that old adage, "Sleep while the baby sleeps."  I'll post more (pictures, too!) hopefully tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

While We Wait...

Billy & William are scheduled to arrive home from Ethiopia Saturday!  

In the meantime, Shep & I have been busy making last-minute preparations dispersed with playtime - it's beginning to feel a lot like Spring around here!

Making "soup" in the birdbath
Everything is blooming!
Oh, how I love T-Shirt Weather
This is how you'll usually find him - On the go!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cousins

Here's a post just to let you know we're still alive - no, William is not home quite yet!  

Shep's best bud is his cousin Joey.  I'm sure William will be right up there when he gets home, too.  But Joey is exactly 1 year older and Shep thinks he walks on water. 

Between my brother & I, we have a 13 yr old, an 8 yr old, a 3 yr old, a 2 yr old, TWO 1 year olds, and a newborn - whew! 

AND neither of us are done yet!!!  Honey & Pop never bargained for this...

The tough guys, Shep (2) & Joey (3)
Thick as thieves, holding hands
Billy, my sister-in-law Jen holding Baby Maevy, Ailey (1) in stroller, my brother Trey, and Conner (8)
With my oldest neice, Carly (13)
The youngest member of the family, Baby Maevy, with Jen

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Countdown to Gotcha Day


We've been busily preparing for Billy's trip to Ethiopia & William's arrival:

Packing adoption documents, clothes, orphanage donations, diapers, food...
Washing bottles & buying baby food...
Setting up the high chair...
Setting up the crib...
WE ARE READY FOR YOU, BABY BOY!!!