Thursday, March 31, 2011


I love these two pictures of my boys. I love the proud, mischievous look on the kid's face in the first picture. I love the sweet smile in the second that shows how completely he loves his baby brother. I love the look on baby E's face in the first picture that seems to question my decision to allow the kid to hold him. And the gentle smile in the second one, happy to be in his brother's arms, knowing his brother will always protect him. I love how the kid's nose is all scrunched up in the first picture and his hands are clasped around baby E's belly. I love how one of his dimples are showing in the second picture, like they do whenever he is showing a genuinely happy smile. I love the drool spot on baby E's shirt (in both pics), because that drool is such a part of baby E, like, all the time right now. I love his crazy, "George Jefferson/Crusty the Clown" hair and how his eyes sparkle.

These boys... my life would be so boring, so quiet, so incomplete without them. I am so grateful that they are my sons.

Today's lesson - Adoption is hard, for all involved. Please say a prayer today for a friend of mine- a birthmother chose her and her husband several months ago, and then, when the baby was born this week, she changed her mind (they were at the hospital, all ready to meet their daughter, when she told them to leave). Obviously the best case scenario is for this birthmom to make the decision she feels is best for her and the baby (whatever that decision may be). My heart is breaking for my friends, who have been thinking for several months that this was their daughter, who have a room all ready, quit a job to stay home with this baby, in their hearts she was already their daughter. I grieve for them, the loss of this child. Pray also for this birthmom, that she is able to be a wonderful mom to this baby, that she has the support she needs. Pray for peace for all of them. Adoption is hard.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cloth Diapers

It's been awhile since I've mentioned our cloth diapering journey. So that's where we're headed today. I don't think I've ever explained how we decided to use cloth. We used disposables with the kid and never really had any problems. I hated the waste we were causing, though, knowing that those diapers were going to be around for the next thousand years. But I didn't know that there were any other options.

Enter A. A, you may remember, was also the reason I knew breastfeeding children who were adopted was possible. She also opened my eyes to cloth diapering. Before her and her husband, my only frame of reference of cloth diapering was my aunt, who cloth diapered all 3 of her kiddos. And I thought it was cool - those diaper pins were flipping scary, but it was cool. Especially since she had a diaper service, you know, to deal with the nasty things.

When A told me of their intent to cloth diaper, I quickly asked about a local diaper service. Imagine my shock that there was no service, so they would be laundering the diapers themselves. It suddenly seemed much less attractive. But I started researching. I found several great blogs and websites that convinced me that cloth was the way to go for us. Here were the reasons we came over to the cloth-side:
  • Environment: the short of it? No nasty, plastic diapers filling up the landfill = awesomeness.
  • Money: We've spent about $600 on the cloth diapers (and covers, cloth wipes, snappis, etc...) and though we will likely need to buy a few additional covers as he gets bigger, we're otherwise done with the financial commitment. If you figure you'll spend around $70/month on disposables, I figure about 2 months from now we start saving money.
  • Cuteness: You must look at the diaper covers, most are simply adorable, though, of course, there are many more cute girls' than boys' diapers. I can't wait til it's good and warm outside and we can let baby E crawl around in just a cute diaper and adorable Baby Legs!
  • Health: there are some nasty chemicals in disposables and they've been linked to fertility problems, headaches, diaper rashes, allergic reactions, liver and kidney problems (Here is a good short explanation/description).
  • HERE is a link with some additional info about the benefits of cloth
And, as for the laundering, it's no big deal whatsoever. It ends up being 1 extra load of laundry every 2-3 days. Thus far the diapers - poop and all - just go straight into the washer. We throw in just a tiny bit of detergent, turn the washer on hot/heavy duty, and out come clean diapers. Easy peasy.

If you're interested, here are some of my favorite cloth diaper sites:
29 Diapers - a great blog. She talks about differences between diapers, related products, etc... I also really like her explanations of how to most effectively launder cloth diapers.
Mother Nurture - the most awesome natural parenting store around! The owner, Cerise, is knowledgeable. enthusiastic, and very patient with never-ending questions (which I *may* know from personal experience).
Bummis - great informational blog, one of my favorite diaper covers.
Green Mountain Diapers - the purported best prefold diaper around. It's what we use and I'm a fan!
Cotton Babies - We've bought stuff from here; it's about the most affordable place I've found. Good customer service, and they have an informative blog too.

There is a huge variety of kinds of diapers and I won't go into that today because this post is already more than long enough. Also, you can get a good idea on the above sites. However, in case you're interested, we primarily use prefolds and either Bummis or Thirsties covers.

Today's lesson - A prefold diaper+a contoured diaper+a snappi does not a leak-proof diaper make. But, when your baby has a blowout on the road, and all your diaper covers are already poop-covered, it's better than nothing. Even if he doesn't look at all convinced about it...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poppa and Baby E Love

We went out of town last weekend with some friends. I was worried about how baby E would do, sleeping in a strange place, all 4 of us in 1 room. Not sure why. Seems I wasted my time. He slept just as well as he does at home, which is to say not all that well. But it was fine. I was also worried how the kid would do, hoping he wouldn't wake up when baby E did. He also did just fine.

Hubby slept with the kid, I slept with baby E. I'm pretty sure I got the better end of that deal though, since the kid has a tendency to flail about with all of his appendages, and that's only while he's not talking in his sleep, or singing. Baby E's all swaddled up so he can't go anywhere. And he doesn't talk yet, just grunt and squeal. Fortunately he doesn't do that while he's sleeping.

I love these pictures of hubby and baby E. I love the enthusiastic look on hubby's face in the first one, and how amused baby E seems to be. And I love how baby E, in the second one, seems to be saying "did you see what Poppa just did? Wasn't that crazy?!".  And I love the smile on hubby's face, the look of love.

Today's lesson - Weekend get-a-ways are completely different post-children.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby E is 6 months old!

Baby E had his 6 month check up last week. It was good, The pediatrician said he's perfect, though she wishes he'd sleep longer (uh, really? Me, too, lady). She thought it was really cool that we're supplementing with donated breastmilk and asked all about how we found it, etc... I'd been worried about that, that she'd freak out since it wasn't through a bank. It was a relief that she was cool with it, though, of course we'd have continued to use it even if she hadn't been supportive. She agreed with me that he's not really ready for solid foods yet, but said we can start whenever we feel like he's ready, though there's no rush. Also a relief. 

The only thing that wasn't awesome about the appointment (well, other than having to wait for freaking ever for the doctor), was baby E's stats. He's tiny, y'all. At birth he was 7lbs8oz. Perfect, normal size, though, according to the charts, he was in the 25th%. I didn't worry about this because his birth parents are small-ish and, really, 7.5lbs seems like a perfect size to me. And then by 2 and 4 months, he was up between the 25th and 50th%. But, this time, he was only 15lbs even, making him in about the 10th%. His height was also in the 10th%.

While the pediatrician wasn't concerned, because baby E's "doing everything he's supposed to be doing and he looks great", I'm a little worried. Hubby immediately jumped on the "let's feed him solid foods" bandwagon, but I reminded him that breastmilk actually has more calories and fat than solid foods and he backed down. Now I'm worried that we've not been feeding him enough since his last appointment. I'm worried that maybe the breastmilk isn't the best thing for him, but, really, how could that be?! He has had a cold for 3.5 of the last 5 weeks. I know that has affected how well he's been eating (since he can't breathe and all). I'm hoping that's all it is and, based on how much he's been eating today, I'm sure he'll catch up. Right????????

Isn't he beautiful?!! Those eyes just make my heart feel at peace.

Today's lesson - the charts suck. Also, my understanding is that the charts were established based on a relatively small sample of FORMULA fed babies. That makes their validity in question for a variety of reasons. And it means that I will no longer allow myself to get stressed about where my kids fall on them. As long as my boys are healthy, and developmentally on track, I'm a happy momma.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mourning Naptime

The kid has moved into being "an afternooner" at his school. This means that he now stays upstairs at school in the afternoon, instead of going downstairs for a nap. It's another sign he's growing up, which is a little sad in and of itself. But, really - total honesty - I am so missing the break we got when he took a nap. Because when he's awake, I feel obligated to focus attention on him, which leaves me no opportunity to do anything for myself (i.e. see previous post). And, yes, I do feel selfish feeling and admitting this.

There are reasons the lack of napping is awesome. For example, yesterday we went to a big aquarium in our area. We didn't even leave home until after 11, then actually get there til after 1. This, normally, would have been the start of the kid's nap time. Instead, it was the start of fun :) He took a short nap in the car, which was good, then he was pretty much fine the whole time we were there. He was a little whiny on the way home, but it was manageable.

It's nice to not have to plan our day around his nap. It's nice that we can do fun things, or even errands, whenever we want, without having to schedule in 2 hours for a nap. But those two hours...well, those two hours were my break. My chance to just veg on the couch, catch up on Gilmore Girls episodes, or a cheesy Hallmark movie, or read blogs. Sometimes it was even a chance to just run an errand by myself without feeling guilty for not taking the kid with me.

I will miss these naps, even though I will embrace the good parts of not having them anymore. Here a pic of the fun we had during nap time! I have no pics of baby E because he was napping the whole time in the Moby.

Today's lesson - It's funny to me that though I do not easily succumb to other's attempts to guilt trip me (pretty much never), I sure do give them to myself often enough! Mommy guilt is pervasive and often times ugly. It can prevent us from doing what is really best - what our momma intuition tells us to do - because we become so focused on what we *think* we should do. Fight it. And then let me know how?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm slower than the average 5 year old

"I'm faster than the average momma. That means you, Momma." That's what my kid said to me the other night. I laughed, well, because he's funny. But then I started thinking about it. And I realized he is faster than me. And it's not just because he's a kid and has limitless energy (though lord knows that kid could run longer than just about anyone with all the energy he has!). It's more than that. It's because I have become so horribly out of shape in the last year, particularly in the last 6 months or so.

It started before baby E was born, though certainly has gotten much worse since his birth. There are a variety of reasons. The meds I'm on to breastfeed are part of it, I think. Lack of time, for sure is an issue, because all my "free time" goes to...well, wait, there isn't any "free time", which would be the problem. We had a really long, cold winter which prevented me from getting outside to walk with the boys  (as that has been for several years my primary source of exercise). I'm much too tired to think about getting up any earlier, because, really, 5:45am is too early for me most (aka all) days as it is, and by the time I get home in the evenings, I feel like I should (and I actually want to) spend time with my boys.

In short, exercise is even less important and prevalent in my life right now than it ever has been. Though, honestly, it's not like it's ever been what I would consider a priority. I did used to do it, though. At least on occasion. At least often enough to keep me fitting in my same size clothes. At least often enough for me to be able to run faster than my kid, even though ever since he started running, he's had more energy than me and thus could likely always run longer.

I know myself. I will never be like hubby - I will never, ever desire to run a marathon (he's in training as we speak). I will never be in the kind of shape necessary for that either. I think I could, if I wanted to. I won't want to. I can say that with complete confidence. What I would like, though, is to not get winded trying to keep up with my kid. What I would like is to be able to fit back into all my clothes. What I would like is to be able to carry my baby on a walk for more than a couple miles without being sore the next day. What I would like is to not have to struggle to get my wedding ring off by the end of the day because my fingers have gotten too fat. What I would like is to not feel like I'm twice my age.

I eat pretty healthy, though the last few weeks have seen a lot more eating out than is typical, or than I would like (for health and financial reasons). I do eat too much on occasion, but really, my diet is pretty good. What isn't, as you can probably guess, is my activity level. It's pretty abysmal. It's nearly nonexistent. Heck, it is nonexistent.

So, what's the plan? Is there a plan? Or am I just complaining for the sake of complaining? Not exactly sure. Yes - I think. And - not this time. So, loosely, the plan is that I am going to increase my activity level. That's generally it. I would post my weight, as a way to keep myself accountable, but there are a few problems with that. First, I have no idea what my weight is right now. Second, I don't actually care what my weight is. I am much more concerned with my health, how I feel, and my ability to keep up with the kiddo. Third, I would get fixated on a number and would give up if it didn't change. Besides, my weight has been, I think, within a 5-10lb window the last 5-8 years, no matter what size clothes I've been in, or how healthy I've felt. My weight, it seems, isn't really a good indicator of how healthy I am.

S, if anyone's interested, I'll post weekly my progress on being healthier. I think that will look different every week, walking in the park one week, hiking another, just taking some time to scrapbook another (because I've realized I haven't really taken time to do anything for myself in a long time). So, thats the plan. Exciting, right?!

Today's lesson - getting old sucks. So does feeling old. So does feeling tired, fat, and unmotivated to get off the couch. Also, a momma in her early 30's oughta be able to run faster than your average 5yo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do-Over Days

Sometimes I think we should all have a limited number of "do-over days". You know, a day where we get to just rewind and start all over.When we can start the day back in bed, before things just went bad, got ugly, just didn't go like we wanted. Now, I'm not talking about those horrible days that no one should have to have (like when someone dies, or there's a horrible accident). I'm just talking about those days when your baby doesn't sleep well, and you - and your spouse! - wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Those days when the day starts with hearing your spouse yell at your kid, hearing your kid cry because his Poppa scared him. Those days when you tell your spouse to quit acting like a jerk before the clock even says 6am. Those days when your kid won't listen, because his day has been started off on the wrong foot (you know, from being yelled at, and then seeing his parents squabble). Those days when you end up yelling at your kid to get his freaking shoes on because you've already asked him 4 times and you don't have time to impose the deserved time out (for him and for yourself). Those days when your kid loses his privileges of TV, blocks, and bedtime books, all before the clock hits 7am. Those days when the baby is fussy (because he's tired also from not sleeping well the night before which is probably related to the cold he has), and you just want him to stop and eat, because you don't have time for all the fussing. Those days when you're ready to drop the kids off at their respective child care providers, but then feel instantly guilty because you've been rather crappy to them that morning. Those days when you sit in your office with the lights off, hoping that no one will notice you're in there, even though you are and are therefore working (you know, to justify getting the paycheck). Those days when you actually have to leave the office to do home visits and of course that's the day it starts thunder storming, even though you love thunder storms, but only when you get to stay home. Those days when all you want is to close your eyes and be magically transported back to your warm cozy bed for an extra 3 hours of sleep and then get to wake up and it's miraculously 6am and you get to start over, fresh.

You know...those days. Yeah, just wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one.

Today's lesson - In preparation for those days you should have an umbrella in your desk drawer and not wear flip flops to work. Because, if you fail to follow both of these rules, it will inevitably thunder storm. And you'll be drenched with rain and because your office decided to turn on the AC, you'll freeze. And, because  do-over days don't really exist, it'll suck. At least you get a do-over tomorrow...right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birth Parents' Perspective

So I found THIS awesome blog written by a birth mother about her experience with adoption. I often read blogs written by other families formed through adoption.  But I don't read many written by birth parents. Not sure why this is, other than I just don't know many birth parents.

I do have a good friend who placed her child for adoption many years ago. She has been such an inspiration to me throughout our adoption journey. She has been a reminder that birth parents make the best decisions they can. She has been a reminder of the pain and sadness of adoption, even though I know she is certain that she made the best decision she could at that point in her life. She has helped me to be more empathetic towards the boys' birth parents when I am feeling frustrated with their actions or words. She has helped me to understand why they might have withdrawn from us at times, and that even though we may not hear from them regularly, they never forget the boys; they always love them. She has helped me to remember to focus on their needs, and on what responsibilities I have to them, not just to the boys. She is a strong woman, and I am grateful to know her, and to call her my beautiful friend.

And the blog, I think it, too, is a great perspective for me. I think it's also a great perspective for any of you who are also touched personally by adoption (and truthfully, if we really look around us, that's most of us). I have found this blog in particular to be such a great source for me - of pure information about her experience, of reminders to be more empathetic. She's candid and honest, the good and the bad. Honestly, I do sometimes forget to think about the pain that the boys' birth families have gone/are going through. I get caught up in our lives, or feel possessive of my sons. I've been know to get irritated by what I feel are too frequent requests for pictures ("geez, I just sent one yesterday" or "I don't have time to get those photos developed"). But then I talk to my friend and she makes (a rare) mention of her daughter, or I read a blog, and I am reminded that these boys are not just my children and I have the pleasure and privilege of seeing them every day. It takes very little effort on my part to extend a small gesture of kindness.

If you're local and are so inclined, I'd love to invite you to a thing we're doing this Friday 3/25 @ 6pm (leave me a comment, or FB msg, or email, etc... and I'll getcha the details). Because it's Lent, and we have a big group of friends who have all been blessed through adoption, we're going to get together and say a Rosary in honor of all birth families. I'll be focusing specifically on the boys' birth families, my dear friend, the birth families of our friends' kiddos, but, really, all birth families. If you've got kids, please bring 'em, or just bring yourself :) It'll be chaotic with kids running all around, but that's perfect and exactly what it should be. If you're not local, or just can't come, I invite you to say a little pray with us where ever you are (whether you're Catholic or not) at 6pm this Friday, in honor of all birth families. And, even if you're not Catholic, I would still love for you to join us.

Today's lesson - if you sit at work, in your office, but don't turn the lights on, you are technically at work (therefore should get paid), but aren't really there enough for people to actually expect you to do work, especially til you've at least finished your Venti Carmel Macchiato. Right? Yeah, that's what I think, too.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adoption Finalization Update

We received a letter in the mail this week from our attorney that let us know that the petition to finalize the adoption has been filed in circuit court. So, we're back to more waiting. Right now, specifically, we're waiting for a guardian ad litum (an attorney, and I don't think I spelled that right) to be appointed for baby E. That person will likely do a home visit with us and ask a bunch more questions of a personal nature. S/he will then write (yet another) report indicating whether or not s/he believes we're suitable parents for baby E. Then, after that's filed, we (well, our attorney) will finally be able to request a court date. Geesh, this seems to be taking forever. Realistically, though, it will probably be finalized before the kid's was (when he was about 10 months old). 1 of the social workers emailed me the other day and said the judge wants to use the same guardian for the finalization. So, she just got that to our attorney, who will now get it to the judge. Sooo, hopefully things will get a'movin' finally.

Here's a cute picture, because my kids are the cutest and smartest ever. I freely admit that I may be biased about that. Really though, baby E is almost sitting - yay! And the kid has decided that writing and reading are super awesome activities. All of the sudden, my baby's reading (little tear...). Wow.

Today's lesson - Patience is a virtue. I'm working on it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Infertility and Marriage

This is a post I wrote a while ago and I've held on to, not ready to put this out there for all to see. You see, I've never written about how the infertility affected my marriage. That ever important relationship between my husband and me. I've not done this for several reasons. First, I probably didn't even want to admit some of it to myself. Then of course I didn't want to make hubby feel uncomfortable. Also, though, there was the whole not wanting to "look bad" to other people. I mean, I'm a social worker. That means my job is to support people in having their own healthy relationships. And, geez, doesn't that mean I should be the model thereof, because if I'm not, then how can I be credible to anyone else. Obviously I completely realize that that standard is not in the least realistic, but it's where my insecurity lies.

Infertility is ugly, for so many reasons. I'm sure for some couples it's this horrible thing that wonderfully seems to bring them closer. That's not what it did for my marriage. I'm not saying that we were ever on the brink of divorce or anything like that, but it certainly permanently altered our relationship in a multitude of ways.

First, (cover your eyes relatives) it meant that the goal of sex was no longer pure fun and connection. It became all about conception with all the ridiculous things you do when you're desperate to get pregnant - certain positions, laying with your legs above your head afterwards, doing it on a very regimented schedule, regardless of whether you were "in the mood" or in the middle of a fight. You do it when the little test says it's time. Your life revolves around ovulation, not attraction. Sex becomes, sadly, a chore, not a way to connect. An obligation, not a way to tell your spouse you love him.

Second, it's something that's with you all the time. Well, for women it is. I think men are able to distance themselves much more of the time. But for women, at least for me, it was there in my head all the time. What was that?  What does that little twinge mean? My boobs are really sore.  Does that mean...?? It's constant. And it's not that you're trying to put energy to focusing on it, really, you'd rather not have to think about it at all, but it's there, pervasive, not willing to give you a break. And when you're thinking about that one thing, all the time, it's hard to focus on anything else, you know, like your spouse.

Then there's the whole part of wondering, for lack of a better/nicer way to put it, "who's fault is it?". I mean, am I the one who's keeping us from getting pregnant, or is it him? And which would I rather it be? Do I want to carry the guilt of it being *my* fault, or do I want to have to deal with being unfairly angry at him? There's no good answer there, and yet it still manages to require a lot of thought (even though I'd rather not have had it running through my head, still it was there). So I vacillated back and forth between thinking it was my fault, thus being ashamed and avoiding hubby because surely I hurt him by being incompetent, and thinking it was his fault and being angry with him.

Also, there's all the "WHY???!!!" questions - why aren't we getting pregnant?  Why is everyone else getting pregnant, but not us? Why aren't we good enough? Why, why, why... There are no answers to any of them, or at least none that I have now. Also, it's like beating a dead horse. And men tend to not enjoy that. They want to fix things then move on and there simply was no fix to this. So, I'd rant and rail, just needing to get some of it out, and he'd then retreat because he couldn't fix it and simply didn't know what to do or say. After a time, I quit talking about it at all because I could tell it was hurting him, too. I started internalizing, trying to protect him, but ending up pissed off that I was having to deal with it by myself.

Surprisingly, the start of our healing came when we started talking to other couples who were also experiencing infertility. Though we had come to not be able to talk to each other about what we were experiencing, we were able to share our experiences and emotions with other couples. Often the first time I'd hear how something had affected hubby (or visa versa) was when he said it to another man who wanted to be a dad.

Though we've made progress, we're not back to where we were before we discovered the infertility. I don't think we'll ever be back there, and that's okay because life isn't about going backwards anyway. But I do kinda miss some of who we were then. We were naive in a lot of ways and much more carefree, just assuming things would come to us. We were so young when we got married (barely 22 and 23).We didn't know how hard life could be, how hard marriage could be. Some of those changes just come with time anyway.  But I think the infertility stole what should have still been our honeymoon years.

On the plus side, I think the infertility taught us that we can weather the hard parts of life and marriage together. Even if we're not completely in sync in the midst of hardship, we'll still both be there on the other side of the storm. And if one of us emerges from it before the other, s/he will patiently (what?! I can be patient...sometimes) wait for the other to arrive.

Today's lesson - Sometimes I think we don't talk about the hard parts of life, the ugly parts, the parts about which we're embarrassed or ashamed. I think we avoid those things we find most difficult because we don't want others to know, or we don't even want to admit those things to ourselves. I think we assume others won't understand, that they haven't had hard times themselves. I think we avoid them because we don't want others to judge us. And, I think we do each other a disservice by pretending those parts don't exist.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Need a laugh or two?

Funny stuff overheard at my house in the last couple of weeks...
  • "Just so you know, I am an expert pee-er. Yup. I'm super good at it. I am phenomenal." Really? I think he has no self esteem issues we need to be concerned about.
  • "Whoa. Check out that ginormous poop. Impressive right? Baby E can't wait to do a poop like that one." Do you see a theme emerging here? ((Sigh)) Boys.
  • "I colored a rainbow just for you,  Momma. It's beautiful, just like you. Well, maybe just a little bit more beautiful than you, but only because you forgot to brush your hair this morning." Note, I had actually brushed my hair that morning. Perhaps I am a bit overdue for a haircut though...
  • "Hey Momma. I know what's in that [Target] bag. It's things to go in my Easter basket for when that crazy Bunny decides to finally come around here. Make sure he knows he's not allowed to come down the chimney though like Santa does. The chimney is reserved just for Santa. That bunny best stay outside where bunnies belong. 'Cause they poop. That's why they belong outside." Again with the theme...
And here's a pic of me and the kiddo from last summer. He sure has changed, my little dude!
Today's lesson - 4 and 5 year old boys really like to talk potty talk. It's just what they do. ((Sigh)) I am surrounded by boys...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Caffeine is my new Friend

Some days, I have little to say, or at least can't organize my thoughts enough to be able to say anything coherent, which is pretty much why I went a week without blogging. Other days, though, I have a ton to say. Some of it is relevant, some of it not so much. Today is one of those days where I have a lot to say, or at least a desire to say a lot, but nothing really important to say.

This *may* be because I had a big ole cup of coffee this morning and so am on a caffeine high. Now, caffeine is new to me. Not that I've never had it before, though it certainly wasn't something we had a lot of growing up. Mostly, though, caffeine was something that never affected me before. Chocolate is a whole different beast, because, really, me on chocolate is either funny or irritating, depending on your mood. But caffeine never did anything for me - pop, tea, coffee, none of it helped me wake up or feel more energized. For some reason, the last few months, my body has all of the sudden decided that not only will it respond as every one else's does to caffeine, it will love, I mean LOVE!!!!!! it. I used to never get the whole Starbucks thing. Now it might be one of my favorite products.

This new found love of caffeine is great, since it's helping me deal with the ongoing sleep-deficit (thank you, baby E). Now, I'm sure it's probably not the healthiest thing, but neither is walking around in a sleep-deprived, slightly comatose state. Also, it's kind of expensive, my new love of Starbucks. But, I love it so much, I'm totally willing to give up other things for it.

Today's lesson - it's interesting how after 30-something years, your body can all of the sudden decide to do a complete 180 on you. Also, so interesting how much more I can get done with a Venti Carmel Machiatto in me. Laundry and bill paying and organizing during the week??!! Thank you, Starbucks. You are completely worth the 5 bucks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another amazing milk mommy for baby E

This weekend I picked up milk from a family whose beautiful little boy died when he was just a month old. No, I don't know what happened to him. I just know how sad I feel every time I nurse baby E with the milk that was meant for this other baby. I've been encouraged to feel blessed by the family's generous gift, and I do, but I can't stop thinking about their horrific loss. I can't help feeling like maybe we made it worse for them.

I never imagined accepting donor milk would be so emotional. I've watched baby E's milk mommies have varying reactions to giving us milk. Several of the mommas have wanted to just talk and talk (which I've certainly enjoyed!). Many of those, I think, were attached to their milk (for good reason - that stuff really is liquid gold!) and I think the talking helps them feel better about letting go of it. Some of them have handed it off with smiles, instantly comfortable. In the end they've all seemed to feel happy about being able to help us in this special way.

This momma, though... it was just so sad. When she brought it up from the freezer, she broke down, sobbing. I felt like I was taking something that connected her to her baby, which, in reality, I was. I felt like I was causing her undue pain. As we hugged, I told her how sorry I was, and how grateful for this gift. We all cried.

I think about their whole family every time baby E and I sit down with the milk meant for that sweet little soul. I pray that their family's grief eases into peace. I hope that their gift to us helped them move a little closer to healing, instead of feeling like yet another loss.

The momma gave me a picture of her beautiful boy "to put in baby E's scrapbook", and be assured I will do exactly that. I will write - and later tell him - about the brave family who made a selfless choice to share a precious gift with us. I will never forget this family. Their loss, their strength, their pain, their selflessness, their beauty have all touched me profoundly.

Today's lesson - Strength, beauty, selflessness, grace take on many forms. Humans are capable of them all, even in the midst of great pain. To be a witness of such acts is a gift.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today I felt the need to write about some of the things for which I'm thankful. So, here they are:
  • I am constantly amazed by the generosity of strangers. Case and point, baby E has gotten milk from 6 amazing women thus far and we have a couple more who are going to donate soon. They're all amazing women in my book. The most endearing (and funny!) is the one where hubby met another dad in a McDee's parking lot for a drop off. I wish I had pics of that exchange!! But there's 1 momma who I'd like you to keep in your thoughts and prayers. I am particularly thankful, and in awe, of this woman. This momma lost her baby. I don't know what happened to this little soul, other than he was a month old when he passed away. I can only imagine the horrific pain this family is experiencing. And in the midst of it, the momma wanted to make sure that the milk she'd pumped for her little son would be used by a baby who needs it. I like to think that her gift to us will give her a little bit of peace in the midst of her pain.
  • That Spring is sooooo close! My daffodils are just on the cusp of blooming. They will be a welcoming sight. It has been a long, cold winter here and I'm over it.
  • The laughter of my two little boys. It's really the best sound ever.
  • New co-workers who have welcomed me warmly. Old co-workers who supported me through a crazy year and have kept in touch.
  • My Moby Wrap. Really, as far as inanimate objects go, it's my most favorite thing. Only Starbucks comes in even a close second. I don't think I would have survived the first couple of months after baby E was born without Moby. And, even now, some days it's the only reason I'm able to get anything done.
  • My husband who puts up with me, my need for things to be in their places, my exhaustion, my frequent requests for water (while I'm nursing) right when he's sat down, and many other endearing qualities (aka annoying quirks).
  • Both boys' birth families. This goes without saying!
  • This beautiful little face. It's been such a process to get him here. That makes me appreciate him even more.

So, today's lesson is one that is worth remembering - the human spirit is beautiful and loving, even when experiencing the most awful pain imaginable.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adoption Resource

I found a great resource for talking with kiddos about adoption, specifically if they were adopted. This one is geared towards kids between the ages of 3 to 5, but I think the website has ones for older (and probably younger) kids. I think handouts such as this one are really good for not just talking to kids who were adopted, but also talking to all kids about adoption. As I've said before, I think it's really important that we normalize adoption across society. Also, these kinds of handouts are, I think, a great resource to share with kids' teachers. I've been trying to figure out how we can best go about this when the kid starts kindergarten in the  fall. It's important to us that the school environment uses appropriate adoption language (i.e. not saying that birth parents "give up their babies for adoption", or that the kid IS adopted vs. WAS adopted - see this for my explanation/rant on that). If you have any suggestions on how to go about that, by all means, please share!!

Anyway, that's really all I'm going today, is just sharing this  HERE

Today's lesson - I never realized that I would know my kids' smell. But each of them smells unique to me. That may make me weird. Whatever. My babies smell good to me and I can't actually think of anything that smells better :)  Oh yeah, here's a pic of the kid, just cause he's cute.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Recent Pics of the Boys

"Check us out. We're two cute boys who just took a picture for our momma's Valentine's card. Poppa should have warned us, though, 'cause we look kinda crazy in this one."

Baby E loves this cow. His name is "Cowie the Horse". Yeah, don't ask me why. That's just what the kid named him.

"Hey, Momma. What is goin' on?!"

"Let me show ya what I can do with that camera!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Follow up re: BLW

Based on the comments I got, I realized there are a few things I neglected to add. First, something that I was originally really concerned about when reading about BLW, was the safety factor. Choking really scares me and though I've had infant CPR and first aid numerous times, I just assume never have to put those skills to use. So, when I read in the BLW book that babies' gag reflexes are actually further forward in their mouths than adults' are, I was intrigued (and hopeful!). I started watching baby E when he puts his hands and toys in his mouth. It does seem to be accurate. I don't think, though, that we'll know for sure until we try it. Please know, one should never give a baby food and then just walk away. One of the great parts of BLW, is that babies are included in the family meal. There's no more having to feed baby before you can eat, etc... You give baby food and they do what they do with it (explore, throw, eat, etc...) while you have your meal. Thus, it is essential that a parent always be there, just in case.

Also, some people have questioned what signs we will look for to know that baby E is ready to start with solid foods. First, baby E still has that reflex that makes him push things out of his mouth with his tongue. Until babies lose this reflex, which happens naturally, they are absolutely not ready for any kind of food. This typically happens around 6 months of age (though earlier in some babies, and later in others).

Next, sitting up. Babies need to be able sit unassisted. This is a safety thing - think how much more likely you are to choke if you're eating laying down; babies are no different. In fact, because they have much less experience eating than you do, and are not nearly as good at multitasking (thus are much more distractable), they're even more likely to choke when reclined. FYI, baby E is just starting to be able to "tripod", aka sit while leaning on his hands in between his legs.

Also, another thing we look at is baby's appetite. Is baby all of the sudden waking more at night to eat? Ha! Who would know with baby E on this one?! Okay, so is baby increasing number of feedings throughout the day? We haven't yet noticed this with baby E.

Lastly, is baby 6 months old yet? Previously, we were told that somewhere between 4 and 6 months babies were ready for food. Now, however, pediatricians, nutritionists, etc... recommend waiting until at least 6 months of age. Now, this, by no means, means that 6 months is the magic age. Just because a baby reaches 6 months, it does NOT mean they need or are ready for solids. Remember, breastmilk (or formula) should be the primary source of nutrition for the first year. 6 months is just the point where you start to look for signs of readiness.

Okay, I think that covers the questions, etc... If you have any more, feel free to fire away - I'll do my best to answer, or find you one.

Today's lesson - So, you know how women often start to lose their hair a few months after they give birth? You know, because while you're pregnant your body holds on to hair and you don't lose as much. Okay, so apparently, this also happens when you take birth control pills for a long time to induce lactation. I was pretty surprised to find this out. It took me a few weeks to realize what was happening, and I wasn't sure til it stopped a week or so ago. Not that most of you will ever have any need to know this particular lesson, but just in case...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

As promised, a less whiny, and hopefully more interesting post :) 

When the kid was barely 4 months old, I got home from work to a grinning man, who was quite proud of himself. Hubby informed me that he'd just fed the kid cereal for the first time, "and he loved it!!". Now, I was really ticked off for several reasons. First, he'd done it WITHOUT ME!!! (mostly it hurt my feelings that I'd missed such a huge milestone) Second, though, I didn't feel like the kid was anywhere near ready for this huge step. He wasn't sitting by himself (hubby had put him, reclining, in his bouncyseat to feed him). He wasn't acting any more hungry than normal. Yes, he was drooling more than he had been the month before, and he was super interested in our food, but those are just what 4 month olds do - they don't mean a baby is ready for the introduction of food. We continued to give it to him, though, because, well, I don't really remember why. But I DO remember that this was right around the time he stopped sleeping through the night. Of course, I don't know whether there's any connection there or not.

Because I worked at the health department and was used to giving parents the very strict feeding guide used by WIC, we followed that. Thus, the kid first got rice cereal, followed by green then yellow and orange veggies. Then we moved on to fruits, saving meats for last (actually because those so grossed me out and I wasn't willing to make him eat anything I wouldn't, we held off on meat til he was more than a year old and went straight to real meat).

Now, this coincided with when I started reading lots more non-health department-type stuff ('cause I read all the time.  What I found from reading those websites, blogs, books, etc... was that there was no real basis for doing this in such a regimented way - there was no benefit, and, in fact, it was likely limiting his diet. So, we started adding in all kinds of things - avocados, chickpeas, couscous, hummus, asparagus, other veggies and fruits that we couldn't find in jars, and pretty much anything we were eating. We started letting him feed himself and found that not only was he willing to try anything, as long as he could do it himself, he loved everything we gave him. To this day, the kid is an AWESOME eater. He'll try anything multiple times, even foods that he has previously not liked, he's willing to try again "because maybe I'll like it this time".

So, when I was hanging out at my favorite book store just before Christmas and saw a book titled "Baby Led Weaning", I casually picked it up, intending to leaf through it for a few minutes while the kid was running around. I was instantly intrigued by the whole concept. And now I'm convinced, and it's how we're going to proceed with baby E.

To start, here's a baby led weaning (BLW) website HERE. But, for those of you not inclined to check that out, here are the basics of BLW: starting at around 6 months, babies are developmentally capable of starting to feed themselves. Thus, with BLW, you let them. This means no baby food as we've come to think of it (pureed stuff in jars). You provide food to babies and let them go at it. No foods are off limits (other than those that are a concern because of allergies like peanuts), they're just given to babies in "finger" sized pieces. At first babies just play with food, and really eat little. This isn't concerning because babies' primary source of nutrition for the first year should come from breastmilk (or formula). It's about letting babies practice the skills of feeding themselves, and letting them be in charge of what and when and how much they eat.

This makes perfect sense to me for several reasons. First, self-feeding is a developmental milestone, just like rolling over, crawling, using a pincher grasp, etc... And in none of those developmental milestones do we, as parents, dictate when our child is ready to start doing. Sure, we give babies opportunities to practice those skills, but babies do them when they're good and ready. Why should eating solid foods be any different?

Second, the way most people start babies on solids can lead to lots of food struggles. Think about the stereotypical scenario of the parent making the spoon into a plane to get the baby to open his mouth and eat it. The parent gently (or not so gently in some cases) coaxes the baby to eat, just one more bite. The baby clamps his mouth shut, or spits the food right back out. The parent assumes the baby doesn't like that particular food and rarely offers it in the future. In reality, the baby may be trying to say several things other than that - I'm full, I am more interested in what the dog's doing than in eating, I want that spoon to chew on, I want to do it myself, etc... These kinds of scenarios can lead to picky eaters.

Third, babies and small children inherently know when they're hungry and have an innate awareness of how much they need to eat. This is one of the benefits of breastfeeding - babies are in complete control over how much they eat. BLW is an extension of that. Why should we all of the sudden assume that we, with our spoonfuls of goo, know better than they do? Overriding this hunger signal is likely related to why so many of us struggle with eating and weight (anyone else remember the clean plate club, and still feel obligated the eat everything even when full?! It starts with babies.)

Yes, BLW is messy. So it's a good thing we have a broom, and paper towels, and a vacuum, and a dog. The dog, I find, is particularly helpful with messy little eaters. Yes, I'm a little sad that we won't have all those stereotypical pictures of the airplane and the baby with goo dripping down to his chin after he's spit it out. But, we feel BLW is what is going to work best for baby E, and for our whole family.

Today's lesson - starting in another month of so, if you invite us to your house for dinner, be warned, it may be messy. But, I promise, we'll clean up after ourselves :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Tuesdays are long days for me. This one will be even longer, thanks to baby E waking up at 4:30 (at least he was a super happy, chatty little creature, after I fed him of course - that made the ridiculously early hour a little easier to stomach). On Tuesdays I am taking a graduate level child assessment class (see, just the name of that made your eyes glaze over, didn't it?). I decided to take the class while I was still working at the university because they pay for up to 2 classes a semester and it seemed silly not to take advantage of that while I was there. The first 2 classes/semesters were easy. They weren't super new, exciting information, but there were a few nuggets scattered throughout them.

This class, though, has sucked. I'm not a fan of the class in general. I think it's more suited to someone coming right out of undergrad, with no experience. And I realize that makes me sounds like I think I'm a smarty pants (which is maybe sometimes true), but that's not really the case with this. I've just been doing this for the last 10-11 years, so me and "the basics" are good. Also, the class lasts til 9:30pm so I don't get to see my family at all. Though I did see them for a couple of hours this morning - thank you baby E.  It also means I have to pump 3 times during the day, which I kinda of hate doing, especially since it's been rather fruitless of late (see yesterday's post).

Wow. I've been super whiny today. And yesterday. Geez. I'll stop now. I promise - something more interesting tomorrow! I'm going to talk about Baby Led Weaning - why we're not going to give baby E any baby food, but will instead start right with "real" food.

Today's lesson - You know your kid is funny when all he has to do is look at your baby, and the baby lets out the most adorable peals of laughter. No words are necessary or adequate for how endearing it is to see the love between two brothers.