Friday, December 28, 2007
I may never eat again.
But, I must report that it was the chicks against the dudes and -- YES -- we stomped 'em...all while getting questions like "what was the middle name of the hairdresser that worked for Tina Turner's 2nd cousin from 1984 - 1986? Meanwhile, the men were offered mind-numbing challenges like "Name the band that sung "Celebration." Hello. Kool in the Gang. Puhleeze.
But we got 'em even after all the smack they were talking before the game. We girls have some mad music trivia skillz, I tell ya.
Gifts were exchanged, babies were fed, laughter was shared and fun was had. A very good night indeed.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
And the day finally came when a little brother was placed in his arms and, although the little boy was elated, those thought-bubble images seemed out of reach. "This small person cannot do anything for himself," he thought. "How can we be a team? he can't even hold his head up." Although he'd never admit it, a thin wave of disappointment washed over his mind. It would be a long, long time before he truly got to be a big brother.
Or so he thought.
Day by day, he helped his Mom and Dad take care of this littlest of people that had entered their lives. Whether fetching the diapers or speaking softly to the baby in the sweetest of tones, his role suddenly became clear. "I don't have to be able to play with him in order for us to be brothers," he mused. It was then that he realized that he could be a big helper and, along the way, show him love that only a big brother can show.
And so it happened. Little by little, a bond was being formed. The little boy who dreamed of being a big brother was doing a fine job in his new role and the admiration in the big blue eyes of his little brother grew more evident with each smile and each coo he uttered in return.
One night at dinner, the big brother was eating his meal and heard the cry of the little brother in the adjoining room. Without hesitation, he dropped his fork and ran in and gently replaced the pacifier that had fallen from the baby's lips. The crying ceased and, with uplifted shoulders and a sense of accomplishment, the big brother returned.
"That's what big brothers are for, Mom," he proudly declared.
And his Mom smiled a great big smile as one happy tear rolled down her cheek.
Whoever loves his brother lives in the light,
and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
~1 John 2:10
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
...Learning As I Go.
If I had a dime for everything I am learning about parenthood as the mother of a newborn, well, I'd have a whole lotta dimes, my friends.
Now, I assure you, getting your first taste of parenthood at the two-year old level was no cake walk. It came with its own share of challenges including how not to FREAK OUT when your son--who has only been home for a week--pushes his rocking horse down the stairs and into the wall. And, instead of nuzzling and bottle preparation, I jumped head first into a need for discipline and guiding a child (who didn't understand my language) on the relationship between sharp metal thingies and light sockets.
I did a lot of praying, I did.
But this time, it's an entirely different process. This child has needs that have to be met. That's it. He gets hungry, lets me know about it in a sudden, shrill, demanding way and I feed him. He has a wet diaper and I change it. He is tired and I rock him to sleep. There is no need to discipline or explain the finer points of the "inside" versus the "outside" voice. He is fully reliant upon us for every need. In some ways this can be a bit overwhelming but, in others, it is quite refreshing.
But, boy am I learning as I go along. I've been "christened" by the poop uzi and the pee fountain. I've learned that all those cutie-patootie outfits don't mean a hill o' beans at 3:30 in the morning when his diaper has leaked and he needs something else to wear. In the dark, instead of choosing between the precious green gown with the fuzzy yellow duck or the soft blue sleeper with the ABC's on the front, I grab the first thing my hand comes across in his drawer. And, to top it all off, I finally have a system for keeping bottles clean and no longer feel like a failure if he cries a little.
But, for all the things I'm somewhat "mastering" (using that in the loosest sense of the term, of course) there are plenty of things I'm working on. Gingerly putting little arms in and out of long-sleeve sleepers is still a challenge as I try to keep him from looking like he's in a straight-jacket. Keeping track of pacifiers is an ongoing mission as is having sufficient diapers/wipes stashed around our home for "emergencies." I'm learning about the delicate balance between jumping to action every time he cries and letting him try to self-soothe...but not for too long.
Most of all, I'm learning that the gaze of a three-week old while you're feeding him is one of the most heartwarming exchanges I've ever experienced. And, I'm thankful every day for this gift we've been given...this miracle that has befallen our family...stretching our boundaries and capacities to love, nurture, adapt and care for something so small.
Yes, I'm learning as I go but I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Our child has slept soundly through kids running through the house, adults laughing, vacuums running...you name it. He is a champ! A very wise lady told me to not alter our schedules/routines or noise level to accommodate him and she was right. He is so sweet and calm and PATIENT. He's patient as Mommy tries her best to get little bent arms to straighten out into sleeves of sweet little sleeping gowns. He's patient as I change his diaper for the umpteeth time or take yet another picture of him sleeping. He's really a wonderful baby.
It's a really weird feeling in our household right now. It feels as if we've already had our Christmas...yet it's still a couple days away. This really has been the most exciting, special holiday of our lives.
And I know in my heart...there are so many more to come.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Most of the preparation for getting ready for the holidays centered around quickly converting a guest room into a nursery! Here is how it turned out...I love this room. The colors make me happy!
I got these canvas bins at Lowe's for $2.00 each... you know me and my organizational-tool weakness. I had to have them! Had no idea how I was going to use them but, by golly, I was walking out of there with some $2.00 baskets!
Here's a couple more pics from the house:
And, of course, I couldn't let an entire post go without telling you that my son D. has had two GREAT days at school since Jacob arrived... that makes me so very happy! And...I couldn't NOT post a pic of the new little one:
"Hello everybody! Love, J...."
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I know this will change later, but I was actually happy to have ZERO hours sleep last night. There may have been a dozing moment or two, but I now know the true meaning of "sleeping with one eye open!" I expected to stare at him all night long and, well, I did just that. Every whimper, every little grunt or cry, my eyes would fling open and I'd reach over and rub his tummy or tell him how much I love him. Zero hours sleep was something I had been waiting for.
Welcome home, J.!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
We drove in to find this sweet display by our friends Melissa and Jimmy. Waiting in the driveway were two very eager sets of grandparents........
Y'all, he is the SWEET, SWEET, sweetest thing I have ever seen. This self-professed "not-so-much-of-a-baby-person" is head over heels in love.
There is so much to tell you and I promise to load the REAL pics you're wanting. To tide you over, here is a picture of him in the hospital (yes, I've been holding out...but I wanted to wait until it was OFFICIAL).
Pics and stories to come... but, for now, there is some sweet baby sugar waiting for me downstairs!
One Very Happy Mama
Welcome Home, Baby Boy!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Can you believe it???
Was it not just yesterday when he was born? Was it not an hour ago when I was so upset at the thought of our waiting time being extended by three days?
Well, all that is in the past. Tomorrow at noon we'll meet our caseworkers to finish up paperwork and then, about 30 minutes later, the foster parents will arrive.
I can hardly stand it.
I don't know when I'll update but rest assured I will. Or someone will. Thank you for your prayers, support and companionship on this brief but exciting journey. And now, as I continue doen the path as a mother a TWO, please stick around for what I'm sure will be an interesting sequel.
Jacob..... it's almost time!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
We just love you so much, God. Please watch over us for a good night's sleep. And God, please be with the lady that carried baby Jacob in her tummy. What's her name, Mommy? (I remind him of her name) Yes, God, just watch over her and make her feel better, God. And please be with baby Jacob, God. We love you and, oh yeah, please be with sick people and with baby Jacob.
Watch over us for a good night's sleep.
-- there's really nothing I can add to that, you know?
What I wouldn't give to have you here right now. It's a cold night with sheets of rain pouring down outside and the soft glow of the lamp in your room makes everything feel so cozy. How I wish you were in my arms, all safe and warm as I rock you back and forth in the glider.
Tuesday will come.
But what I wouldn't give to have you here on this night.
Friday, December 14, 2007
...and so it went on, the clacking sound of wheel against rail, grinding mile after mile. Outside the small window lie of blanket of frozen white as far as the eye could see. A seemingly endless carpet of untouched snow...mile...ka-duh-thunk....after mile...ka-duh-thunk....
We boarded the train at exactly midnight. It was very Casablanca-like as billows of steam wafted up from grates in the sidewalk as we slowly approached the tracks. Our apprehension must have been evident. Here we were, in a foreign country, being placed on a train in the middle of the night with no one to translate along our 31-hour journey. It was the dead of winter in Moscow, Russia and we were going to meet our son. They could have told us that train was bound for Jupiter and we would have still hopped on (proof still that hope can get you through just about anything.)
In our little passenger cabin, we were either too warm, too cold, hungry, sleepy or too tired and anxious to sleep. Ill-prepared for this surprise mode of transportation, we boarded the train with a small bag of clothes, no books or snacks and a couple of styrofoam plates of meat and cheese we had purchased in haste near the train station (that we kept refrigerated by pressing them up to the window glass).
But what I remember most--even more than the uncomfortable bathrooms and thick black coffee swimming with coffee grounds--was the rhythmic drumming of the train as it ambled along the tracks. 900 miles of a slow, persistent rumbling...often lulling me in and out of a dreamlike state. We did finally reach our station and disembarked, hand-in-hand, to go and meet our new child.
Why do I remember this so vividly tonight? Well, hubs and I took D. to Stone Mountain for their Christmas Village. We ate yummy soup in a warm bread bowl, gawked at beautiful trees wrapped with a blue gazillion tiny little light bulbs and saw The Polar Express in 4-D complete with snow pouring from the ceiling...an effect that caused such delight in the life of my five-year old, hard-to-impress-anymore son that it brought tears to my eyes.
But, to cap off the evening, we took the train ride around the base of the mountain. We chose the outdoor train car and snuggled up as a threesome to look at the scenery as the train slowly made its way through the park. At one point, the slow ka-duh-thunk, ka-duh-thunk of the train transported me back to the winter of 2004. The cold, crisp air blowing on my face took me back to that frozen countryside we viewed mile after mile. Only this time, I glanced over beside me and found a wide-eyed little boy singing the "fa-la-la-la-la" chorus of Deck the Halls....having the time of his life.
Tears filled my eyes again as I realized the symbolism of the moment.
Here we are, days away from meeting our new son and we're sitting on a train, in the cold listening to the all-too-familiar sounds of wheel against rail. We are now a party of three, anxious and waiting...eagerly anticipating what lies ahead in the unfamiliar territory of a family with more than one child.
But we're together...and we're nearing the station where we'll get off, hand-in-hand, and venture towards our new life and the newest member of our family.
It's a worthwhile journey indeed.
--hyperanxietilated-- the feeling I am experiencing as I wait to bring our baby boy home Tuesday! (hyper...anxious...and elated all at the same time! :-)
Soup: What is currently your favorite song?
"Restore To Me" by Mac Powell (of Third Day) and Candi Pearson-Shelton. It's beautiful, meaningful and is one that I sing fifty-leven times a day.
Salad: What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
--For there to be a family of four sitting around our Christmas tree this year.
Main Course: Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.
--it'd have to be the scent of vanilla. Before she died, my Mom fell in love with vanilla everything...perfumes/body sprays, air fresheners, candles. One sniff of vanilla and the memories come flooding back.
Dessert: Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why?
--I'm not one for Communist-type censorship, but if I had my way...Howard Stern would never make it on the air. To me, he's crude and vulgar... although I'd have to say that the Jerry Springer Show wouldn't be a bad one to vote off the island, either!
To check out other feasts, click here. Happy Friday everyone!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Her first words to me: "You, my dear, are the luckiest woman in the world. He is a WONNNNNNN-derful baby."
I simply can't convey what that did for my heart. Not that a fussy baby or a not-so-perfect baby would be any less of a joy for me. But, in a strange way, I was "proud" of him for doing so well after the transitions he's been through.
She indicated that he's a great sleeper and that he is so often content to just hang out watching everyone. She described his fingers as "long, piano-playing fingers" and said that he has the cutest, longest legs that kick out as she tries to button his sleepers... on his last visit he was right at 8 pounds and 22.5 inches long.
I just can't describe the longing I felt in my heart. She said she wants me to be with him more than anything but that she would certainly be sobbing when it came time for us to take him home. I assured her that they would always be a part of his life story...his angels.
She then kidded that she takes him to her ladies' "circle" at church and that they're sewing a diaper bag and blankets, etc. for him to take with him. God bless this couple for taking such good care of our child. Her comment was "he may never remember us, but I want him to know that while he was with us he was warm, safe and very loved."
In this situation, who could ask for more?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
And though some think it's delightful
I'm checkin' forecasts for snow
It says no, it says no, it says no
Well it doesn't show signs of stoppin
Record temps we are a' toppin
I wish it were 10 below
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
When we finally kiss goodnight
I'm a-wipin' sweat from my brow
Don't you dare try to hold me tight
It's too hot to be doin that now
Oh the fire is slowly dying
We don't have one, I was lyin
Up north is where I should go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Written in honor of our SEVENTY-SEVEN degree day outside. It's December 11th, folks. I need sweater weather!
7 days from today, our lives will forever change. I've heard more than once (actually more than 100 times) in the past month that "I have no idea how much my life is going to change with two children."
I can only imagine.
I'm sure there will be jealousy, attempts to get attention by the oldest, unexplainable crying by the youngest and moments of panic and exhaustion on our parts. I know there will probably come a time when a lack of sleep will cause me to feel both physically and emotionally drained and I'll think back on these last seven days and wonder why I was so anxious to get to the sleepness nights that accompany a newborn. I'm pretty sure there will be times when D. needs something and I'm in the middle of changing a diaper or getting J. to sleep and I'll feel torn while trying to meet the needs of two children.
These things I know.
I also know that, arriving in seven days, is a little pair of chubby knees that will grow up and get boo-boos that need to be kissed. I know that there is an older brother who will finally have a sibling...providing him with the coveted "Big Brother" title he's wanted for so long. There will be four people in our car instead of an empty seat next to D. in the back. There will be twice the giggles, twice the bedtime prayers and twice the "I love you, Mommy's." And, with two comes the security of knowing that Daniel will have a sibling with which he can share life. Yes, there will be a five-year age difference...but that gap will most likely seem smaller and smaller as the years go by.
Having two children will be a challenge and, believe me, is not something we've gone into lightly. We have waited and we have prayed and, in seven short days, our family will welcome our newest member.
I couldn't be more excited.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Hubs and I have been in an ongoing discussion about whether or not we will have inflatable Christmas thingies in our front yard this year. He wants them (for D., of course) and I do not....make that, DID not.
Call me Scrooge, Grinch, what have you...I just am not a big fan of the blow up snowman or Santa Clause--both of which now call my front yard their temporary home. My dear hubby argues that kids love them and why shouldn't we do it for our son? I do understand that and that is the main reason I gave in. I guess my beef is that they are EVERYwhere. And, I just wanted to do something a little different. Oh well.
The main point of contention came when I agreed to the snowman, off to the side a bit, but no Santa. Let a girl ease into the idea, you know. Apparently hubs FORGOT our compromise. As I descended the stairs this evening, I spotted the jolly ol' man in all of his illuminated red glory right in the smack dab middle of our front island nearest the road.
And, of course, when I mention it to my hubby, he responds (in an UNwhispered voice), "OK, we'll take Santa down, Mommy." Yeah sure, make Mom the "heavy." I might as well have declared there is no Christmas right then and there because the look on my son's face was pure horror.
As much as I like to imagine that having another child will give me someone for "my team," I am not that naive. Next Christmas, it will be three against one and our front yard will probably look like a new reality show "Inflatable Nation."
I'm gonna need some of that "special" egg nog, if you know what I mean.
With Fondest Seasonal Greetings I Remain,
The Mommy That Wanted to Kill Santa Clause
Saturday, December 08, 2007
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the boy
And never ever think of counting sheep
When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You'd be his if only he would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
Thats the time you miss him most of all
Twenty-six miles separate us tonight.
And, as I sit here at midnight, wide awake while my other boys are fast asleep, I know that I should be resting, too.
Everyone says so.
But I can't.
Sleep eludes me.
My anxious thoughts fatigue me.
I walk by your nursery and stand in the doorway in awe that, just a few short weeks ago, the only inhabitants of that lavender-colored room were a white iron bed and a nightstand. Now, its warm khaki-colored walls await a young boy whose life with his new family will begin a week from Tuesday. A rocker sits patiently, ready to play its role in late-night lullabies, a plush brown teddy bear awaits his roomate, and a tub full of freshly-washed, cute-as-can-be sleepers wait to be slept in.
I want more than anything to feel your tiny fingers grasping one of mine. I wonder if you are asleep right now or if you're on your way back to sleep after a midnight feeding. I wonder if you have any idea that, twenty six miles away from you sits a woman whose heart has an empty spot...an empty spot just about your size. And she waits... and does not sleep... and stresses about finding a dresser for your clothes (even though she's been assured it doesn't matter)...and she prays for you continually.
just twenty six miles away.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
That does a mama's heart good.
It's a good thing I've never performed dance moves in inappropriate places like the office or anything. I'm much too classsssssssy for that. Right, Burnsie?
Check it out, ya'll. It's pretty darned funny.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The countdown to bringing J. home has been altered a bit...I wasn't OK with it today but I am now. Instead of bringing him home on Saturday the 15th we must now wait until Tuesday the 18th. Three days may not seem like a big deal but, to us, it is an eternity. With every day inching by as if on little bitty caterpillar feet, waiting three more days seemed interminable.
But it's OK.
The reason is that the birthmother has 14 consecutive 24-hour periods in which to change her mind. The end of that period is 8:00pm on Friday, the 14th. Because it is a Friday night, she could submit a petition and the agency not receive it until Monday morning. If we were to pick him up Saturday, there is still a risk that it could be reversed.
Soooooooo.....I am sad. I'm disappointed that my "10 days til J. countdown" today has changed to 13. But, in the big picture, it does not matter. He is in a loving foster home being oooed and gooed over by a lovely lady. And, as much as I wish that lady were me, I feel in my heart that we are doing the right thing. We are waiting until he is legally free to protect the heart of our 5-year old that wants more than anything to be a big brother. To see that ripped away from him would be the end of me for sure.
So...turn back your countdown clocks a bit and join with us in gratitude that we even have this opportunity. There is a reason for everything and this reason is pretty practical. We brought our first child home at 27 MONTHS old and he's the love of our life.
Three days will not kill me.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The award is the "You Rock the Crib" award which I think is pretty darned cute.
Now, without further ado, I would like to pass along this award to:
Cindy at Still His Girl. This lady inspires me every day and has no idea. Whether lending an encouraging word or regaling us with stories of her loving relationship with both her husband and her girls... I have enjoyed her blog from the first day I stumbled upon it. Cindy, YOU ROCK.
Kristie at The 4 Sullivans. This chick is loving the Lord and parenting her children half a world away as a missionary in Russia. Folks, you know I've been there more than once and cannot imagine how difficult it would be to raise children in another country...but she and her hubby are doing it and doing it well. Kristie, YOU ROCK.
Check out their blogs and you will be blessed time and time again. I pinky swear.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
My 5-year old is also deep into his sleep after a barrage of questioning at bedtime. His first and last question was: "Mommy, does Santa Claus live in Utah?" The question led to a deep discussion about the travel patterns of Santa's sleigh and a probe into why China gets to have Christmas before we do.
As I type, I notice all the streaks of paint on my hands. These swatches of paint are the result of wooden letters spelling "J - A - C - O - B" being painted for a baby boy's nursery.
A veil of exhaustion falls over my eyes as I struggle to type these last words.
A new week begins tomorrow and we will be down to 12 days until he comes home.
12 days... think we can do it? Think we can be ready?
Ready or not....here he comes!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
1. You didn't really think I would list 400 things did you? :-)
I don't even KNOW 400 things about myself. But, what I do know is we're going to have a sweet baby boy in about 14 days! THAT'S when I'll discover 400 things I didn't know about babies, I assure you!
Well, the birthmother left the hospital today and was understandably emotional. The irony of our emotions yesterday really struck me. I cried last night fearing she had changed her mind. She was crying because she hadn't.... This little creature, so small and unknowing, has already made a significant impact on the hearts of many.
And so, I wait.
I wait to lay eyes on our little boy. I wait to show him his room with the bright red bird on the wall and rock him back and forth gently as I gaze at his itty bitty fingers and toes. I wait to see D. proudly don his "I'm the Big Brother" shirt which has lain dormant in his closet for who knows how long. I wait to kiss that sweet little spot on the back of his neck (you know, where the best source of neck sugar can be found). I wait to tell him the story of an unselfish love that brought him into our family. And, I wait to show him an unconditional love... one that he can carry with him for the rest of his life.