Well, I know I haven't written in ages, but I wanted to say I'm still here! The past six months I have been focusing on writing an inspirational novel based on infertility. I'm attending the SheSpeaks conference this weekend in Charlotte, NC, so if any of you are planning to be there, let me know. I'd love to meet in person.
Jackson turned two this month and is becoming quite the big boy. We bought him a toddler bike and I think his favorite thing about it is the helmet (not the one pictured, he has dinosaurs on his!) He's getting used to it and says "bike, bike" all the time.
He's also saying a lot of words, and getting his two year molars. He has two popping through right now, so we've been seeing some fussiness and crankiness, which he normally is not. Even though he does have his share of tantrums on occasion, he gets over them quickly and is laughing in three minutes. He calls himself "Jacks" and will say "Jacks, juice?" when he wants some juice. He uses other sentences as well and is just getting to be a lot of fun to be around.
Okay, back to the book. The character I'm writing about is experiencing endometriosis. I have PCOS, which I did not want to write about. But, for those of you who dealt with endo, can you comment or email me and let me know how you were diagnosed? How were you treated? When was it most painful? Just basically give me all the details. I'd appreciate it to make it more authentic. I've done research online and talked with an OB-GYN, but that doesn't mean I know how it feels.
Christmas turned out really well for a boy that is 17 months old. He still wasn't quite sure what to do with all the wrapping paper and everyone sitting around a tree, but he liked being given new toys. His favorite so far are a toy cellphone and a set of mega blocks. He also got the little set of table and chairs you see in the picture and loves climbing in and out of the chairs. He can entertain himself with the chair for at least 30 minutes.
Oh, and the little stuffed lion he's holding in the picture is Leo. Leo is Jackson's very best friend. He likes to carry him around, chew on the feet, use him as a pillow and give him kisses. In fact, the other day Jackson was in a corner behind our baby swing and all I could hear was kisses. When I investigated he was in the corner kissing Leo. I told Jackson it was way too early to be hiding in corners making out! :)
So, here's a question. How do you Moms out there discipline a 17 month old? I know there isn't too much you can do, and he really isn't a trouble-maker, but there are a few things we'd like him to learn not to do. We have used time out and have said "no" and taken things away, but I would love some other suggestions. I was spanked as a child (very few times, in only very serious situations) and don't think that is appropriate for his age or the disobedience. It would be helpful to get some advice.
JellyBelly posted a blog about how waiting to adopt is hard at Christmas. She was writing about how each year the holidays come around and it is time to write Christmas cards and another year has gone by and she isn't sending cards with a cute little baby on them.
I remember those years.
For three years I cried every Christmas sending out those cards with only Charlie and me. It was a simple reminder that we were still waiting. Waiting. Always waiting. Living is hard in the middle of the waiting. It consumed me at times and then the dam would burst and I would collapse in an ocean of grief. Yup, the simple task of sending cards involved all that.
Then, like magic somehow, Jackson was placed in our hands. I'm sure the moment is comparable to when mothers give birth, when the doctor hands you your child. Joy, sweet and lasting. A heart about to burst. A smile that stays for hours.
Now, Christmas cards include pics of that sweet boy, but are so stressful. Having the boy is so much easier than trying to capture him on film! The cards aren't as important as the boy, but before.... Before they were so much a symbol of what we didn't have.
I like to compare these befores and afters. We all know life changes, but I think it is how it changes US that matters. Jackson has changed our cards and changed us. I am thankful for such sweet changes.
Just an example of our attempt at cute pics. Epic fail.
This has been a very busy summer for our family. It was my first summer at home with Jackson and we had all kinds of fun. We went to the pool, the park and did all kinds of errands. He loves riding around in the shopping cart and waving to people. He only knows one word: Hi. And he uses it, waving to people and charming all strangers. He knows he is cute.
But the big news was that my husband left his job at our church to become a middle school language arts teacher. It was a big change for us, because my husband's college degree is in Bible, not in Education and he is going in Lateral Entry. It all happened very quickly and he was hired at an inner city school with a tough group of kids. He really wants to have an impact on the lives of kids and he feels a passion to do it through education.
The first few weeks of school have been very hectic for all of us, although Jackson has transitioned the easiest. He loves his sitter and was happy to see her back after the summer break. She takes great care of him and does all sorts of neat pre-pre-school things, like helping him learn to stack and sort. My start of year was good and I feel more settled with elementary school children this year and am focusing on many new skills, like working with scissors. Have you ever tried to teach someone how to hold scissors? It is really hard! It comes naturally to us now, but when you first pick up scissors, they are hard to control. We have been practicing with kindergarteners and it is kinda cute, a little funny and also a tad dangerous when they start cutting towards themselves.
At home we are trying to tackle a load of projects. Here is our list:
chimney repair: our chimney/fireplace has been damaged since we bought the house 6 years ago. Now, when it rains the water is coming down into the den. Not very much, mind you, but it is discoloring the bricks, in a way.
landscaping: our backyard is currently a mish mash of plants and mulch. There is no grass, and there are two huge piles of mulch waiting to be spread. I would like grass for Jackson next summer. So... help must be found.
dishwasher: the dishwasher has stopped working. A replacement has been found.
refrigerator: It has problems with the water and ice maker. We don't use much ice, but when we do need it, it is annoying not to have a working appliance. I would also like to be able to use the water through the door! Working on a replacement as well.
attic renovation: we have been SLOWLY working on renovating our attic into a master bedroom. We were doing well on it, but them Jackson came along and our money went to the lawyer.
There is our list! It will take time and money, but we will tackle it bit by bit!
A couple of weeks ago we went to the pool and spent the day letting Jackson explore the water. Our pool is fantastic. It has a great adult pool, but also has a lovely fenced in toddler pool. The toddler pool is my favorite, because it has a zero entry with little fountains and a big waterfall thing in the middle. I love to sit in the shallow water with Jackson and get some sun and stay cool. The waterfall feature also drowns out a lot of the noise from the big pool. It's great. But I'm getting a little off-topic.
That day we spent too long at the pool and I came home really sunburned. We were sitting on the front porch drying off and Charlie went to get the mail. He pulled a large manila envelope out of the mailbox and opened it while walking back up to the porch. When he got back up to the porch, he looked up at me with tears in his eyes.
He was holding Jackson's official adoption decree. Jackson's adoption is official and final!! I picked up my phone and called our case worker from the adoption agency and let her know. She was so excited for us.
Now, as excited as we were, and we were thrilled, this again goes to show you how lame our lawyer has been during this process. Jackson's adoption was finalized and we weren't notified at all. We got the papers in the mail. They never notified us of the court date, never told us it was finalized. I think they could have told us. I think they SHOULD have told us. Lame. I've said it before, and I will say it again, we won't use them next time.
Moving forward, we are hoping to be able to spend time with his birth mother this month, but it is up to her. She might not choose to see him/us and I guess we have to be ok with that. We'll see what happens. We are also planning Jackson's first birthday party, which we are going to have at the pool. It should be really fun. I hope. We have included way too many people, probably, and I hope it isn't too overwhelming. I'm not really a fan of large birthday parties for kids. I know Jackson' won't even remember it either, so I'm not stressing myself out about it. I just want it to be fun.
Well, that's the update from this neck of the woods.
Thanks for the suggestions on the diet plan. There are a few more things I should mention, especially when it comes to what I cannot eat.
I cannot eat:
spicy: mexican food including the spices cumin, red pepper, and paprika
soy: anything with soy and soy sauce, which makes Chinese food difficult
citric acid: I dare you to look at the ingredients in your bread and not find citric acid. It is used as a preservative and is in a ton of bread products. You would think carbs would be ok, but not with that as a preservative.
vinegar or lemon juice: this is why I have not attempted homemade mayo...don't you need some kind of acid to help it emulsify?
By checking VERY carefully, I have found many things that I can eat, but it is a very meat and potatoes type diet. I am dying for some fettucini alfredo, but parmesan is off limits right now. I have found that if a product has very few ingredients, it might be ok. The more stuff (chemicals) in it, the less likely I can eat it. I am going to shop some at Whole Foods this weekend and see if I can find some bread. I've tried making some, but I'm just not a baker.
I did experiment with making chip dip out of cottage cheese. I blended it down to eliminate the curds, and used garlic and chives. I used WAY too much garlic, but in the next batch I will tone that down. It tastes delicious, but requires a tooth brushing and three mints to get rid of the garlic breath!
Keep sending me your tips and advice! I welcome any creative ideas you might have!
If you're reading this blog, you might already know that Charlie and I are going through the process to adopt a child. It has been a long road to this place, and infertility is not for the faint of heart. But we firmly believe that God's hand is upon us and that He preparing us for a child who needs a loving home, with people who want nothing more than to be a family. If our journey interests you, read on.