Tuesday, December 17, 2013

coming full circle

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.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Changes in our lives...

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:
  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. dishwasher:  the dishwasher has stopped working.  A replacement has been found.  
  4. 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.  
  5. 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!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

why our lawyer is lame

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's ours."


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. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Wishing you and your family a Happy Memorial Day and praying for safety for all our troops home and abroad. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

more on the IC diet

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!

Monday, April 29, 2013

the IC diet

There are many things I wonder about and some things I am certain about.  I know that one of my favorite things is reading and that I really don't like being in charge of the bank account, but when it comes to health issues, sometimes things get foggy. 

I've been dealing with interstitial cystitis for several years now, which is an inflammation of the bladder lining.  It makes me feel like I have to go all the time.  There is only one FDA approved medicine for it and it didn't work miracles for me.  It was also expensive so I stopped taking it awhile ago and replaced it with some natural supplements.  They aren't miracle workers either, but I get the same result for less cash. 

One of the biggest suggested treatments is diet modification.  When I was initially diagnosed, they handed me this pamphlet and it basically boiled down to eating only carbs and meat.  Not the healthiest or the most exciting meal plan.  I never really stuck with it because it was so limiting. 

The last couple of months have been really stressful dealing with the IC as well.  It hasn't been improving and so we did some research and found a specialist (who I can't see until June) and also found a new diet plan.  It has more foods on it that I can eat, but is also more specific. 

I can eat:
  • many non-spicy vegetables like peas, corn, carrots, etc
  • very few fruits: pears, blueberries, watermelon, and gala apples
  • mild cheeses like cheddar and cottage
  • plain meats that I cook or know exactly what is in them or boiled ham/turkey lunch meat
  • plain pasta
  • eggs
I should not eat/drink:
  • caffeine
  • artificial sweeteners
  • processed meats, like hot dogs or lunch meat or BACON
  • citrus fruit, citric acid
  • sharp cheeses, parmesan included
  • boxed pasta or rice dishes
  • preservatives
  • chocolate
  • condiments like mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressing, soy sauce
  • vinegar
  • onion
  • tomato products of any kind
Doesn't that look like fun?  It has been kind of like a big puzzle.  I mean, I can eat lettuce and cheese on a salad, but I can't have any dressings that have mayo or vinegar.  That is pretty limiting, I tell you.  And having a sandwich with ham and cheese and no spread of any kind is pretty boring.  I thought I could get away with smoked turkey, because then at least the meat would have some flavor, but "no flavored meats" was also on the caution list.  I finally did figure out that I could have avocados and garlic, so I made a spread of it for sandwiches but without lemon juice in it, it doesn't last very long. 

Tonight we made quesadillas and I ended up just having bean and cheese, because I couldn't have the taco seasoning on the chicken.  I could have had the plain chicken, but it just didn't taste right on a quesadilla, so I just kept it plain.  Last night I made ravioli, which I had with butter while I made Charlie sauce.  I used to use Alfredo sauce, but with parmesan on the no-no list, I had to give that up too. 

Some of you might say that living without the chocolate would be hard, but I think it is the mayo that it going to kill me.  Everyday I think of things I want to make for summer with mayo:  egg salad, pasta salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, ranch dressing and so much more.  I dip my fries in mayo.  It's usually the only thing I put on sandwiches and burgers.  It's my condiment!!!  Yes,  I know I'm strange. 

Anyway, I know people who've gone gluten free and I know that isn't easy either.  And I know we'll make this work.  I'm just craving Chinese and Mexican and Olive Garden and knowing I can't have it for now is not fun.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that once I feel better, I can slowly start adding my favorite things back in to see if they irritate my bladder,  Please pray that mayo will not!  LOL. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is FINALLY here!

So, the week of Easter came and went and it was still pretty cold here in NC. We had sleet and freezing rain on Thursday!  Saturday, however, was actually really nice and we took Jackson on his first trip to a neighborhood park.  It is a really nice park, maintained by both the city and the Tanger Corporation.  There are pretty trails, a brick gazebo to get married, a creek and picnic tables, plus benches and grass everywhere.  It was the first time Jackson has touched grass, as our backyard is mostly mulch (the husband's weird idea) and so the park was a lot of fun.  We had so much fun, in fact, that we packed a picnic dinner and went back tonight. 

Jackson will be 9 months old tomorrow and he is doing many things:
  • using a sippy cup
  • the army crawl 
  • eating bananas and macaroni noodles
  • he has 7 teeth!
He still doesn't really have much hair and I am dying to see how it comes in.  His birth mother had straight brown hair and the birth father had blondish-brown wavy hair.   I'm so curious to see what grows! 

We've started thinking/planning for his first birthday party.  He's the only one of the grandkids with a summer birthday, so we're going to have it at the pool.  Any tips on throwing a first birthday without breaking the bank? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

mommy brain

Today I felt like a mom.  An honest-to-goodness mom.  It's not that I haven't felt that way before, I have, in small moments.  Like when Jackson would fall asleep on my chest when he was little.  Or when I fed him with a spoon for the first time, or when I make decisions about what is best for him.  But today, I felt like a real mom.  I was driving in my mini-van, Jackson strapped in the carseat, looking for consignment sales. 

I love consignment sales, and I hate them at the same time.  We have some really great churches around here that have consignment sales every spring and fall.  I've been to a couple of them before, and there is one close by that we really like.  It is in the church's gym and they are super organized.  It is coming up in a couple weeks and we've been planning and making lists about what we need.  Jackson needs new pajamas and 9 month clothes and I think we need an umbrella stroller.  Now that we have a little boy who can sit up in a cart and ride in a big boy carseat, the umbrella stroller will be easier to get in and out of the van.  Right now we have a jogging stroller that Charlie uses on jogs and walks, and one of the carseat frame strollers that we can sit the infant seat in and is easy to use when we are running around town doing errands.  But, we are transitioning to the bigger carseat, we won't have the infant seat and I don't want to mess with the jogging stroller if I don't have to. 

Today I went to one church where we thought there was a sale and the parking lot was completely empty.  I texted a friend to see whether I was at the wrong place and I was, and then went to the correct church.  I was disappointed. First of all, when the building you are having the sale in has three huge steps and a curb, how do you expect moms with strollers to navigate this?  A curb is one thing, stairs is another.  I got up the steps carrying the stroller, but I would not have been able to do that if Jackson were heavier or I had a larger stroller.  Inside there was not a big selection of clothes, which was what I was looking for, and the aisles were very narrow. 

I left quickly. 

I ended up at Target, where I promptly thought I misplaced my cellphone and so I searched the store all over for it before finding it in my back pocket.  My back pocket.  I never put it in my back pocket but I did today because I didn't have the hook to hang my purse off the handle of the cart so I put it in the big section of the cart.  My phone kept beeping and getting it out of the cart was a hassle so I slipped it in my back pocket and forgot it was there. 

It was my first cast of mommy brain. 

On another note, thanks for the information about your finalizations.  I do know it takes a long time for many adoptions to go through, but I think I am mostly just frustrated with our lawyer and how they don't contact us---they just BILL us.  I don't like that.  Not at all. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

taking forever

Let me just say that our adoption finalization is taking forever.  Well, it seems like forever, but Jackson is only 7 months old and that really isn't that long.  I just know that others of you out there have finalized adoptions in less time than that and it just seems so frustrating. 

Here are the things that I am frustrated about:
  • We had to have a TPR done for the father, and while that process isn't that complicated, it is more complicated than we thought.  They just had the hearing on TPR a couple weeks ago and we are now free and clear.  
  • Our lawyer is very busy and not really that interested in us.  I mean, he came recommended by our agency and has done great work for them before, but now isn't so awesome.  We met him once, to sign papers and hand over a retainer, but since then I think he has emailed us twice, but billed us FOUR TIMES.  Even when the TPR hearing was over, they didn't even call us to let us know.  They emailed us.  We won't use him again.
  • The lawyer fees are ridiculous.  It is going to cost us almost half the cost of the agency fees to finalize the thing.  Think of it this way...our agency worked with us for three and a half years and the lawyer is going to work with us for eight months and get half of what we paid them!?  I don't like it.  
  • The birth certificate:  Am I alone in not liking that they will completely erase the birth mother's name and put in mine?  I don't want to erase her.  And I know I'm not supposed to know her last name and such, but I wish they could just put in her first name and leave it at that.  We aren't hiding the adoption from Jackson and so I don't know why the birth certificate has to have my name.  
  •  The court appearance:  In NC, the adoption agency can appear for the adoptive parents and since our agency is several hours away, and the court is where the agency is, it makes the most sense for us to let them handle it.  I must admit, though, that I kind of wanted the pictures with the judge like I've seen many of you have. 
We've been living our life and loving our boy, but we want this thing finalized.  I don't know how we'll celebrate it, but I know I want to do something.

What kinds of things did you to do celebrate?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

six months/prayer request

So Jackson is six months old as of Wednesday and is doing very well.  He is rolling over, eating all sorts of baby food and his giggles are so wonderful to hear.  He loves his nanny (three days a week) and spending a day with his Grandma and he gets to spend a whole day with daddy too. 

I can't believe it has been six months.  I still have those days where I'm surprised we have a baby in our house.  Like when I'm kissing him and putting him in bed, I still think it's weird that there is this little person in my life.  And he's a little PERSON.  He has a personality and I didn't expect it to come out so soon. 

Maybe this is a new mom thing, but I'm amazed at how big he's getting and how he babbles and wiggles and gets excited when he sees me or Charlie. 

While we are adjusting well to being parents, I need to ask for prayers for my bladder.  I have been struggling the last couple of months with my IC (interstitial cystitis) and several infections that haven't really been cleared up with antibiotics and the antibiotics sometimes cause other infections.  But I'm sore and jumpy and stressed and panicky when I'm away from home. 

So, I would like to ask for your prayers and I will thank you in advance.