Friday, December 25, 2009

I wasn't dreaming of THIS white of a Christmas

Wow, I am a mess of emotions tonight. I get this way about Christmas every year. It's just you lead up to this day and have so much family and food and blessings around and then BOOM!, it's over.

This year was really hard for many reasons. Work has been super stressful and I didn't think I'd get the time off I'd hoped for. I put off shopping until last week. We never put ornaments or even garland on the tree because I was too tired. Colt has been sick with a cold. And then...the big one I wasn't expecting: a blizzard.

See, in Oklahoma we rarely get snow and have only had a white Christmas like 12 times in a 100 years. We just don't see very much here. Cautiously for the last week, there had been predictions of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. But no one, even the weathermen, had any idea what was to happen.

In Oklahoma City between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve we got over 14 inches of snow. We literally had a Blizzard, complete with whiteout conditions. And before the snow started, we had hours of sleet and freezing rain which coated the roads in at least an inch of ice. We have snow drifts over 4 feet IN OUR FRONT YARD.

My family is in town staying at my mom's and I was determined to get over and see them, let them see Colt, and spend Christmas Eve with them so John and I set out in early afternoon. It was a white-knuckled drive and there were several times we almost got stuck. And once we arrived at my mom's, there was no leaving. Especially with a one-year-old and a pregnant wife, John wasn't going anywhere.

We didn't intend to stay there though. John is a pretty brave driver and probably would have braved the roads home. But my sister called and said she was stuck in the middle of an intersection and he and my stepdad headed out to help her. While helping her, John blew out his knee (he's had three knee surgeries, involving both knees...they're bad) and they had to leave her car in the intersection and just concentrate on getting everyone home.

So, John was laid up and the roads were so bad we couldn't even get across town to get home. So, we stayed the night at my mom's house. All 3 of us, my sister, aunt, stepdad, mom, and grandparents. It was a super tight squeeze...and Colt wasn't feeling well and had a hard time sleeping. He finally ended up getting 6 hours of sleep. John and I got about 2 hours each.

And the whole time I'm just mad and irritated and worried about the stupid weather and John's knee. Instead of being excited for a white Christmas, instead of counting my blessings that we were ALL safe and warm and under one roof, instead of enjoying my yummy dinner...I was irritated. Instead of being thrilled for extra time with my beloved grandparents and aunt...well, you get the picture. We were snowed in and I was worried about wearing the same clothes and not having our stuff and our beds.

The morning was better...I woke up with a better attitude and just grateful that we weren't one of hundreds stranded in their cars, at the airport, or in shelters. We were safe. We enjoyed breakfast and presents and lunch. And then my brother-in-law came over to take us to John's family's house for even more Christmas festivities.

And now, we're home and I feel like I wasted such an amazing Christmas. I really loved it. I did! And I was SO grateful that we were there, instead of stuck at home without family. And now I'm oh-so-sad that it's all over.

As Colt and I settled in to watch yet another viewing of "Mickey Saves Santa" on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I cried and cried. It's our last Christmas with just Colt. And every year I worry it's my last Christmas with my grandparents making the trip and that the next year they'll stay in Missouri instead of coming here.

Things I DO want to remember:
-How Colt played with my aunt Linda and she had so much fun teaching him how to play with his new leapfrog and Mickey toys.
-How we all started watching "A Christmas Story" last night when it first came on and kept watching it throughout the day...as always.
-All the cooking my grandma did.
-How Colt lights up when he sees my mom and doesn't want anyone but her.
-Laughing with John through the sleepless night.
-How Colt wanted to open all his Aunt Renee's presents for her.
-The way his Uncle Matt plays with him and has great patience for him.
-The whole season, watching Colt's face as he saw Christmas lights and trees.
-How he played with my mom's Hallmark singing snowmen and pressed their buttons over and over to hear Jingle Bells one more time.

I regret that I didn't enjoy it more at the time. But it will go down as one of the most memorable Christmases I've ever had and gave me precious time with my family. Blizzard 2009...you can't get me down!

Now off to get some sleep and hopefully wake up over my post-Christmas depression. Pictures (what few I took) coming soon!

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas Eve - so let's talk about Colt's birthday!

I'm watching winter weather storm updates at 5 am here on Christmas Eve. We're supposed to get snow, but first ice and I'm all kinds of irritated. Snow is one thing...but I want to be able to drive in it and ice puts a damper on that!

Here is that long-awaited birthday update. I don't have to explain the pics...you can probably decipher them yourselves! But I will say the picture of John and Faith (our cat) asleep is after the BIG Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party with close friends and family...we were EXHAUSTED.

Also, John made the cake. Yes, MADE.THE.CAKE. Decorated it and all...he's very talented! The top 4 pics are from his actual birthday day at school, where he had a cupcake party with his little friends.

Also, he hated the spreading cake all over himself. He started out getting made because we stripped him. Then the paparazzi came and started taking a million flashing photos, then the thick icing was caked in his fingers and he lost it. It also could have been the severe upper respiratory infection and croup he came down with mere hours later...but at least during MOST of the party he had a complete and total blast.

What a great day!









































































































































Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The first moment in my arms

Indulge me...only 2 hours left of his first birthday, I'm doing a lot of reminiscing. This isn't the first moment I saw him, though. We'd snuck a peek at him in the nursery, a moment I'll remember every detail of for as long as I live. A few minutes later we went into N's room, and she formally introduced us to our son. She handed him to me...and here is that moment forever captured in time.

I am so, so blessed.

Happy Birthday Colt!

Dear Colt,

It's here! You're officially one year old! I have been spending a lot of time thinking back and reading blog posts from December of 2008. Wow! First of all, I was a much better writer at that time! But most of what stands out to me is the depth of my love and excitement for you before I even really knew you. To think of how that has grown in the last 12 months is astounding. The human heart is capable of some profound things.

Most moms talk about how they can't believe how fast the time goes, and it's so true. I feel like at least in this first year, I have appreciated every little milestone. I know as things get busier and you get older time will pass and I won't have as much recollection. But I have celebrated every tooth, every smile, every clap, every crawl, every doctor appointment, every new food...I'm living a dream come true every day.

I find no greater joy than in figuring you out. Knowing that singing "The Wheels on the Bus" while changing you each morning keeps you calm during this ritual you detest. Knowing that when I sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" you will twist your hands like I do for the spider. Knowing that you really want to eat with your hands and are so past the baby food. Watching you as you know exactly where to go to find a change basket or the faucets to turn on in the bathroom. Watching you light up and chase after your beloved kitty. Listening to you squeal with joy when Mickey Mouse comes on the TV. Seeing you watch Daddy swing a golf club and already share in his passion (or maybe it's just that anything Daddy does, you love). Even knowing that when Grandma is around, I may as well not exist excites me to the depths of my soul. I am so blessed and honored to be the one that knows these things.

You have completed me in a way I didn't know needed completion. Yes, I felt empty arms without a baby for many years, but THIS completion and utter joy is something I didn't know needed to be filled. You have filled me with patience. You have extracted me from things like the computer and TV and lazy Saturdays because I'd rather be spending that time with you (or sleeping to recover!). You've caused me to reevaluate my priorities and my definition of success. You've made me a mom and a better person.

I love you SO much, my little 1-year-old. You have fulfilled my every dream. You're a living, breathing, constant, every day example of answered prayer. Please know that my arms are always open, my shaky voice always willing to warble a song, and my ears are always listening for your voice.

Happy Birthday!

Love,
Mommy



Friday, December 04, 2009

Colt's first Christmas program.

Photobucket
Hi Everyone. This is John. Jess gave me her login and PW so I could post a video of Colt in his first Christmas program! Enjoy!

video

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts from a First Thanksgiving

Dear Colt,

I'm probably going to write you a lot of letters over the next few weeks. It would be hard not to, seeing as how in just 17 short days you're going to be ONE year old! That means anytime I think to myself "this time last year"...you will be part of my story.

Your first Thanksgiving this year was a blast. I kept thinking the whole time how different it was compared to last year. Last year, we didn't dare travel more than 5 miles from our city in case we got the call that you were making your arrival. We were already 2 hours away from you, but to think we might be 2 hours and 15 minutes was just too much to bear.

Last year your due date was December 4th. So at Thanksgiving, we stayed in town instead of going to Missouri to see Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa and Aunt Linda. We had a wonderful week last year, relaxing at Mimi and Papa's house, decorating for Christmas, and standing in line with friends at 3:00 in the morning for Black Friday shopping. The whole time, we kept thinking about how those few days would be so different for us the next year.

This year, you're here. And not only are you here, you're becoming your own person and moving where you want to move, doing what you want to do, and clearly NOT doing anything you don't want to do. You're more than just a baby we can share our holiday with and be thankful for, you are a PERSON. Already. One year you're not even here, the next you're running 14 people's holiday plans.

This year, we had to make your own plate of food at BOTH Thanksgiving dinners we attended. When we went out to eat over the weekend, we ordered food for you instead of sharing. We shopped 'til we dropped for your birthday and Christmas presents. We followed you around GGrandma and GGrandpa's house without so much of a thought of the football we (I) were missing. We took turkey-induced naps together. We strolled around the mall, making sure to leave whatever store YOU weren't interested in. We clapped everytime you decided something was exciting enough to clap about. We imitated your faces trying to get you to show them off again. Daddy put up the Christmas tree as a surprise when we got home, just so he could see your face when you saw it.

Your Great Grandparents are so enamored with you. They think everything you do is adorable (as does most everyone else in the family). They were SO happy we traveled up there this weekend to see them. Great Grandpa calls you Colt 45, and whenever we ran into his friends over the weekend (even when he wasn't around) they said "this must be Colt 45" and proceeded to tell us everything about you. He talks about you to everyone, you are his pride and joy.

Your Great Grandma is equally as proud of you. She would like to hold and kiss you all day if she could, but now that you're almost 1, you have no interest in things like that. So instead, she followed you around all weekend. This is the same woman who has a hard time getting around on the best, most relaxing day and there she was in a crammed house full of people following you with energy we haven't seen in her in years. She also cooked two meals while we were there, and she hasn't been able to cook for us in a long time. You put energy into her body and soul!

And her reward was great. On Saturday night, after one exhausting day for you, you snuggled in her lap and let her feed you a bottle. You stared at her as she sang to you (I'm pretty sure she sang "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"), and then you sat quietly as the two of you watched the "Lawrence Welk Show" together. You clapped for all the songs, and she sang along to you. It was a memory I hope is as clear to me the rest of my life as the moment I met you is.

YOU are special, you are loved, and so many people give thanks for the joy you brought to our life that it made your first Thanksgiving one of our family's most special. Thank you for being here, for being you. Thank you for giving me more to be thankful for than any one person deserves.

Happy Thanksgiving, Little Man.

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gotta love the bullet points!

So much has been going on lately, I don't even know where to start on an update!

Work has been so busy for me lately, lots of new projects and deadlines. I've even been fairly absent from Twitter and FB for the last week and they are part of my job! I'm not complaining though.

So, I thought I'd just give you a quick taste of what's been going on. I have pictures for several things to follow up with soon.
  • I don't think I mentioned here that we've decided on a name for Baby #2: Owen Pete. Owen because we like it (and happens to pay homage to OU football field), and Pete because it's my grandfather's childhood nickname. I'll probably post more on this another time and how much it means to us and to him to incorporate such a personal name and carry it on in our family. We're excited about the baby. Please don't call him OP or John will change his mind.

  • Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! What?! I'm excited...we'll have traditional family Thanksgiving at John's parents (and they even invited my mom, stepdad and sister, too!) then leave from their house to go to Missouri to visit my grandparents and aunt this weekend. John will actually turn around and come home the next day to work on some house projects, but Colt and I will stay and come home with my mom on Sunday. I'm excited to get away and do lots of eating and some shopping!

  • Speaking of John's projects...he's got a lot of things to get done this week! Luckily, he already put up Christmas lights this weekend (check out his wasp sting for proof). But he will be cleaning out, packing up, and assembling new furniture to turn our office into a playroom this weekend. He's also cleaning out Owen's room, painting a wall, and getting ready for the furniture that is to come in there. He's also beginning the process of fixing, stripping, and repainting the dresser in that room. The guy will be BUSY while we're gone!

  • Um, I will be busy, too. Because Colt is a mad crawling monster machine. And he's a master of pulling up on things now, so he requires a constant eye of supervision. His favorite thing now is to turn on the bathtub faucets in our bathroom and run his hands in the water. Also requires lots of attention because the only one he can turn on by himself is the hot water!

  • Last week I had a friend come over and help me reorganize my pantry and kitchen cabinets. Even though it wasn't a HUGE difference to the naked eye, everything makes so much more sense now and I have room to add things! It makes me feel like a better person to have control over my glassware, random kitchen appliances (hello S'mores maker!), and food we don't eat.

  • My dear friend, Liz, celebrated her 30th birthday this weekend. We had an awesome party, then met up for a girl's day on Saturday. We went and saw "The Blind Side" at the movies and it was so good! A real feel-good movie with lots of football in it...can't really go wrong.

  • John and I were discussing whether or not to put up a Christmas tree this year. He thinks it's too dangerous with Colt crawling and pulling things over all the time. I feel heartbroken at the thought of not starting that tradition now. So I did what anyone struggling with a major decision would do: I asked Facebook. Overwhelmingly (almost 40 comments) agreed we should do it! Everyone gave lots of suggestions on how to limit the "danger" so we'll see if John can get everything out of the attic this week. We know Colt will LOVE the tree!

  • I went Black Friday morning shopping last year and had a blast. This year it will not be happening. I'm kind of sad, but at the same time I'm so easily worn out and my back hurts ALL.THE.TIME right now so it's probably best for me to limit trampling crazy ladies this year.

So I guess those are the main things. Off to try and finish everything by lunch time today so I can get take off early and get some things done before we head out of town. Happy Birthday to my amazing Mom today...how did she want to spend her birthday and the early afternoon she gets at work? By picking up her grandson at daycare, of course! She's so wonderful, he'll be glad to see her!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, be safe, be full, and be thankful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

11 months of pure joy

On Monday Colt turns 11 months old. Which means his first birthday is right around the corner. Completely out of character for me, I already have the date scheduled for this occasion AND am thinking about themes. It helps me avoid the pangs of sadness I feel about my baby growing up so fast!

This morning we had a grand ol' time with Colt and Daddy high-fiving. John says "Give me 5" and MOST of the time Colt will slap his hand and then start clapping because we go crazy with the "yays" and praise. But sometimes we say "Give me 5" and he immediately starts clapping without giving the 5 because he knows that's the routine.

SO. STINKIN'. CUTE.

So I've been thinking about that all day and it made me want to share a little about Colt at 11 months.

  • He eats anything and everything, but has been particular about the amount in his mouth lately. We're finding spoonfuls of baked beans or corn means he'll spit it right out, but if we keep it to 2 or 3 pieces he'll go to town.
  • He is a MASTER at peek-a-boo and "Where's Colt?". He loves to hold a blanket over his eyes and wait until we ask where he is. He starts to giggle then will pull it down so we can excitedly say "THERE he is!!". He will even do it with toys or wallets or anything around that he can "hide" behind.
  • He's still doing the gangster crawl, with a healthy balance of bouncing on his bottom across the room to get around. He pulls up onto his knees, but still not a full standing position. But he SO wants to walk...
  • He has found his voice...and uses it ALL THE TIME. He loves screaming just to scream, not because he's mad or anything. And he's babbling a lot like he's in a conversation. We love hearing him, and my favorite is that he talks in the car now so I feel like we're using that time for quality bonding while driving to daycare in the mornings!
  • He has also discovered that if he doesn't like something, he can protest. He screams, whines a lot, and arches his back and stiffens up so we can't hold him without a fight. Fun times.
  • He hates getting dressed, but we've found a middle ground of changing him on his changing table and there is less thrashing and gnashing of teeth. In fact, lately in the mornings he's been pretty quiet about it!
  • Desperately needing shoes...he has one pair we always put him in for school because they stay on and are easy to move in. Our nephew, Mason, who is 8 years old saw them the other day and said "Whoa, did someone donate those shoes to you? They look really old and torn up." All I could do is laugh because he DOES need new shoes and I really DON'T want to shop for them! But, hey, if 8-year-olds are embarrassed for my son then I should be too!
  • He loves opening and closing drawers and doors. We've had several smashed fingers but it doesn't deter him!
  • We started using Huggies Overnight diapers and immediately stopped the overnight leaks. LOVE IT!
  • He started sleeping in a cot at school instead of a crib, and apparently is sleeping much better that way. Break my heart that he's big enough to sleep on a cot!
  • Still eating mostly baby food and some bottles. With only 2 teeth it's hard to make a meal out of table food! But we try to give him some at every meal...baby food is just so much easier!
  • He has conversations with his teddy bear and hippo that sleep in his bed at night. Every morning we can hear him talking over the monitor, and we go in and his animals are lined up against the side of the crib while he is facing them and talking to them. He loves them and it's hard to leave them behind when it's time to get up!
  • He's still doing awesome crafts and artwork in school. We have multiple prints of his hands and feet throughout the year turned into kitties, butterflies, caterpillars, bats, and ghosts. Can't wait to see what he does for Christmas!
  • He can eat an entire ice cream bar or ice cream cone by himself. Boy loves ice cream...just like his Daddy!

I'm sure I'll think of more as we go, but for now those are the things that make me smile.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanks through Nov. 12

Thanks to everyone for their comments, e-mails, FB's, etc. on my last post! I definitely don't feel scared about where we are, just frustrated and ready for a change. The ideas and support you've shared have given me a lot of hope...I know we'll do well, it's just going to take some major sacrifices!

Being that it's the month of November, many people I've seen have been doing daily "thanks" on FB, Twitter, etc. I know that we're already halfway through November (WHA??!!) but I have SO much to be thankful for...so indulge me while I catch up to this day, November 12th.

1. I'm thankful for my son! He is the light of my life and completes me in ways I never imagined.

2. I'm thankful for my husband. 6 1/2 years of marriage has brought us lots of ups and downs, but I never ever doubt that he's with me for the long haul, loves our family, and is a great man.

3. I'm thankful for my co-workers. They provide me much laughter and support during the day, especially now that I'm not really traveling I love my OKC office pals even more.

4. I'm thankful for my son's daycare and the teachers that love him like crazy.

5. I'm thankful for Huggies Overnight diapers, which I'm not afraid to say have changed our life.

6. I'm thankful for our cat, Faith. She has long been the comfort I need while waiting on Colt and stressful days at work...she continues to be my favorite cuddler and companion at night as I drift to sleep. (John goes to bed much later than I do!)

7. I'm thankful for blogland and Facebook. I feel so connected to perfect strangers and even better connected to people that I know. Advice, support, funny quotes and more inspire me to get through the roughest of days, and I feel like I have a whole stadium full of people to celebrate the best of days with me.

8. I'm thankful for our house and how it seems to be a perfect fit for us. Not to mention the neighbors!

9. I'm thankful for my church family, especially our Bible class and the relationships we have there. I will never feel alone with them by our side, and I find comfort in knowing nobody in that class will go hungry, no children will go without a playmate, and no one will go without prayers.

10. I'm thankful for donated maternity clothes that have saved precious pennies during my pregnancy.

11. I am thankful for our active duty and veterans in the U.S. Military. I find them astonishingly brave and self-sacrificing. I'm also thankful for their families who share them with the rest of the country. I'm thankful they fight in wars they may not understand for people they'll never know. My family has a long history of military service and it makes me incredibly proud.

12. And today I am thankful for flexible work schedules that allow me to attend my son's Thanksgiving lunch at school! I'm headed there now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Debt

So I used to post every time I started Weight Watchers. Similarly, I posted every time we started Dave Ramsey budgeting lifestyle. And inevitably I'd be into it for about a week and then you'd never hear from me about it again.

So, in hopes of breaking tradition I am blogging about budgeting and how THIS TIME, we're doing it and going to be successful.

For the last year or so, we've been operating under "new baby mindset" and basically just getting by. We don't plan a lot when we go grocery shopping, and John often finds himself at the grocery store at 10:00 at night because we're out of diapers. We eat out every single night (or get take-out and bring it home) because the food prep and clean up is exhausting for 2 people who don't get home until 6:00 or after.

There's no planning involved in operating our lives, only in-the-moment survival.

We even strayed from our trusty cash-only system that had served us well for long time. And subsequently our money is disappearing each month before our very eyes. And we choose to ignore it, operating in survival mode instead.

Well, funny thing about suddenly realizing you're 6 months pregnant...money starts becoming more and more of an issue. And then you start to worry about it and get scared about things. And then, medical bills start piling up. The medical bills are literally sucking us dry. Between numerous co-pays, prescriptions, ER trips (for me...migraines before, violent stomach bugs twice since being pregnant)...they are sucking the life out of our savings and our credit cards. I have done a terrible job of keeping up with all things medical bills-related, and probably have overpaid in deductibles and co-insurance this year.

I've started a new system for keeping track of medical bills and you can bet your bottom that next year I'll be watching everything like a hawk.

Leah recently posted a blog about admitting some of her weaknesses on her blog, because often times we look to our blog friends for advice or support and it can be overwhelming when everyone posts their happy-go-lucky life and you end up thinking you're the only person who's not perfect out there. Well, this blog is my version of Leah's. We already know my number one vice is bad language. Well, here's your next confession:

We are in debt. And even though there is a plan, there is a big chunk in taxes coming back next year, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...we are still in debt. We have a SMALL savings that could last us maybe 2 months for the most important bills we have to pay if something were to happen. But with a mortgage, 2 car payments, student loan, CREDIT CARDS, and medical bills...month after month it's just easier to avoid than make a plan to deal with it.

In 6 months we will have two babies in daycare. And with the way we're living right now, we can't afford that. Literally can't afford it. Plus, early in the year one hospital visit will cost my entire health plan deductible. There will be more diapers, more wipes, more laundry detergent, more toys, more pacifiers, more formula, more baby food. It's just so overwhelming I can't even explain it.

And I have to say that we are not, by any means, big spenders. Other than the house and our cars that we foolishly bought brand new a few years ago, we don't ever go out and spend money on big purchases without paying cash for them. We have a broken down, 12-year-old TV in our bedroom, and our flat screen in the living room was paid for entirely through Christmas bonus and gifts 3 years ago. Colt's furniture was a big expense, but something we planned for. Other than that...we've bought nothing we can't afford. Ok, maybe some vacation expenses but I don't regret that either!

So how did we end up here? Brand new cars started it. Fertility treatments compounded it. And while we definitely aren't house-poor or upside down, but we probably could have been wiser when we bought our home. And of course, you plan and save as you can for adoption expenses but those added up, too (not that I would go back and change a thing...I'd rather live in debt forever than go back and change those decisions!).

So, here we are. We have a plan, we survived the initial discussions. We are current on our medical bills. And now we have to go back to our Dave Ramsey baby steps, we have to chip away at the debt piece by piece. We're borrowing baby furniture for the new baby, buying a few reasonable items for the new guest room/playroom. I'm learning how to CLIP COUPONS. And we'll once again try to eat more at home.

That's our reality. We're having trouble with money. YIKES! We haven't really had trouble with money before, I feel like we've always been pretty responsible. But I see a way out, and there's no one I'd rather work with than John to head that way. I hope none of you are in debt, but I know there has to be some people who find themselves in similar situations! Any tips of the budgeting trade you'd like to share would be awesome. Just wanted to share our particular struggle as it's dominating my mind these days. There may be more posts about couponing in the future!

Monday, November 09, 2009

The strange things blogland can do to you

I feel compelled to write this morning, even though I only have a few moments.

In the last few months I've really started following and reading MckMama's blog, and more specifically her tweets. I have found her so refreshing and uplifting, honest and open...I just feel like she's so genuine and like I KNOW her. Everything I've heard from others that have met her would lead me to believe this is not just a feeling I get from her writing, but actually what she is like in real life.

Her son, Stellan, is only about 2 months older than Colt. And he is so, so sick. And today is an especially bad day and his heart has already stopped once this morning. A few weeks ago he also came very close to leaving with God, but pulled through and went home for a few days. During that hospital stay, MckMama posted photos of Stellan asleep in his hospital bed, cuddled in their arms, and talked about the things she and her husband were doing to stay calm and focus on their time with Stellan. I've been haunted ever since, and even thinking about the post brings tears to my eyes.

For the first time, I truly put myself and my baby in that situation. What if Stellan was Colt? What if those pictures were of Colt and we were in the hospital snuggling him through IV cords and wires and ventilators? What if we never knew whether or not each breath would be his last? I've been thinking about this and it's weighing heavily on my heart more and more.

I know I don't KNOW MckMama. I know that I can't play the "what if" game because when I go home tonight, other than a cough from allergies my son is perfectly healthy, happy, and safe. But it has caused me to hold him a little tighter (when he'll let me), kiss him more and more, tickle him for fits of giggles when I'm in a rush, let him crawl where he wants, play more peek-a-boo, and in general cherish the snores and sighs and even midnight cries over the monitor as I get my jealously guarded sleep at night.

Whatever happens to Stellan, I know that eventually it won't weigh so heavily on my heart. There will be times where I'm stressed and busy and Colt is grumpy and I won't think of Stellan as we're dealing with life. But right now, I think of him all the time. This baby I don't know, his mom I don't know...they're changing the way I view time and schedules and the way I love. So he has done more than he'll ever know to bless my family.

PLEASE keep them in your prayers, check in on her blog and tweets and follow their story, especially today since they need him to be stable for a life-saving, very risky surgery that he can't wait for. Please pray for his doctors, his parents, his 3 older siblings, and for that little 1-year-old to stay strong and hold on a little longer.

Then hug your kids.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Parties for a Little Monkey!

For a 10-month-old, Colt sure had A LOT of social obligations for Halloween that required the costume. Luckily, the monkey costume wasn't terribly cumbersome! He didn't LOVE it, but he never cried in it or fought us on it.

First was our church's fall festival (bottom pictures). Then he had Trick-or-Treating AND a Halloween party at daycare. Finally, we made the rounds to a few grandparent's houses on Halloween night to get some goodies (including some Puffs instead of candy!).

It was fun, but kind of exhausting! I loved his costume, though. He looked SO cute, and the stuffed belly was the best! Made him look even more squishy than usual! I accidentally left his brown onesie at school on Friday, which is why he had green on Halloween night. Regardless, I think he was pretty adorable.

John and I have always called him our little monkey, because for some reason when he was born he had a lot of clothes with monkeys on them. So the costume was perfect...Halloween is fun again!















































































Pumpkin Patch

So we did, in fact, go to the Pumpkin Patch. It was a fun activity, will be A LOT more fun when he can run around and pet the animals and we don't have to get him in and out of a stroller! By the time we were done, we had a couple of worn out kids on our hands!

We took his friend, Anna, which I think he loved. They are in the same class at daycare and are just inseperable. It's cute to see babies with such good friends already! We got a few pumpkins to take home with us, and they were a great background to his true masterpiece: the pumpkin he painted himself at school. I took a lot of pictures of it, since we won't be able to keep that...I was proud!

Do you not want to just eat him up? He's pretty squeezable!















































































Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sooner Trio

So after Labor Day weekend I lost my digital camera. FINALLY after tearing up our bedroom on Sunday I found it under the bed. I was determined that I would find it, as we were going to the Pumpkin Patch on Sunday and EVERYONE knows the only reason you take babies to the Pumpkin Patch is for obligatory photos with hay bales and pumpkins. Otherwise, what a waste of a trip!

So I found it. But it meant that I missed an entire month of documenting our son's life in pictures. I'm terrible, I know and he'll probably NEVER forgive me for leaving out most of his 9th month. In the meantime while I'm uploading said obligatory hay bale and pumpkin pictures, enjoy this adorable photo of Colt and his BFF's, Anna and Van at the OU/Texas game this past Saturday. They make the heartbreaking losses a little easier to deal with.

I CAN tell you they are teaching us valuable lessons in what we say when watching a football game. Turns out "crap", "sucks", and "pissed off" aren't really what you'd call "cleaning up your language"...John and I have a long way to go, sigh. We thought we were making progress with this vice!

Van plays the role of Big Brother to these two very well. They LOVE watching him and keeping up with him. Colt wanted to follow him around all day and Anna stared lovingly at him all day as he ran around and performed for everyone. It's fun to see them with someone who's not too much older, but just old enough to be cool...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recapping the call

I didn't mean to wait so long to update! Sorry for leaving some of you hanging about the call with N on Wednesday.

It went SO well. We spoke for 30 minutes and it was comfortable, sweet, and just really reassuring. I was really amazed at how SHE was putting ME at ease and her maturity level was so high during the call. Especially because I was nervous when we first started talking and I just started spouting random pieces of info about Colt and laughing this really weird nervous laugh. She was patient and listened, then brought me back around to what the call was really about. Thinking back on it, I'm just really impressed.

She told me that when she first read my letter that we were expecting a baby, she started to cry because she was so scared that it meant things would change. Our feelings would Colt would somehow be lessened with the addition of a biological baby. But you could tell she already KNEW that wasn't the case, the logic was telling her that it would be no different. But her heart just wanted to hear me say it.

It's important to stop here and let you know I didn't cry one time during the call. Go Me!

Remember how I said in the last post that her family landscape was changing? I think it's ok to go ahead and say what that means because it's pretty crazy actually. She's getting married next weekend...and she's expecting a baby girl on March 6th, which is 12 days after our baby boy is due. There are so many things that have gone through my head on this one, but the one that stands out is that it makes me feel really at peace knowing that no matter where Colt was, he'd be a big brother at 14 months old.

She told me how nervous she was to tell me that she was pregnant again. I told her I thought it was funny that we were both so scared to tell each other basically the same news! And it's wonderful news, and it means more precious babies and we were both so scared.

We talked a lot about her fiance and how much he looks forward to seeing Colt's pictures and how excited he is to be a dad. We talked about getting together for our next visit. She said over and over how thankful she was to have contact, I told her how much we wanted to hear from her and stay in contact.

It was perfect.

Hopefully we'll go visit in the next month or so, as Colt gets closer to his one-year birthday. And now that we are both comfortable with direct contact, maybe we'll hear from her more often. She's pretty awesome.

So...the call went great! Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

N

So I haven't mentioned Colt's birthmother, N, in a long while. Mostly because our relationship has been pretty one-sided up to this point. Understandable, but it's brought about many emotions for me - especially lately.

The other day I was gathering up a new pack of pictures to send her and I was writing the letter. THE letter. The one where I told her we were pregnant. I can't even tell you how nervous I was to write that letter. I mean, it's just not something I TRULY prepared myself to have to write, even though there's a whole section about it in the adoption application with our agency. I can't remember the exact questions but it's basically along the lines of "How would you react if you were to have a biological child after adoption?". You answer, never believing you'll actually have to face it.

Anyway, I delayed writing the letter for probably a month. Once I finally wrote the letter, it felt like writing a confession. I won't go into it here, because it's between us, but I basically just told her that the pregnancy took us completely by surprise. I told her my biggest fear was that she would think we had misled her about our fertility problems. That she'd thinking we were less than honest. I was fearful she would be mad that Colt wouldn't have more time as our only child. And, ultimately, I didn't want her to think for one second that we would love him any less.

I sent the letter last week. Heard from our caseworker today that N called her last night. She was happy for us. But she was having some anxiety and was having trouble verbalizing what her fear really was. Ultimately, the short of it, she is just afraid that once the baby gets here we'll love Colt less. (TEARS, flowing, right now as I'm typing). T told her that she completely understood those fears, but she wanted to reassure her that she had spoken to both of us and that just wasn't the case. She shared with her some of our thoughts and fears, and that we loved Colt SO MUCH there was just no way we could love him any less.

N started to feel better, and told T that she believed her. But, she would feel a lot better if she could hear it from me directly. I didn't think twice before I blurted out "yes" when T asked if I would be willing to call her. I need to be able to talk to her about it as much as she needs to hear it. Letters just can't do that justice. We decided that I would call N from my cell phone directly and I'm very happy about that. We haven't had any direct contact with her since the day Colt was born and to have a line of communication like that means a lot.

So...I'm calling her in a little while. She has some MAJOR things going on in her life right now. Not sure I want to share here right now, but her family landscape is changing and we're happy for her. I can only pray that God gives me the right words and strength to convey my love for my son in a way that erases any fear from her mind. I think it may be the final thing I need to truly feel at peace with this pregnancy and to start feeling like it's an exciting thing. I've felt a lot of guilt and I'm hoping this helps alleviate some of that (I KNOW I shouldn't feel guilty, but I do so that's that).

So...prayers needed!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't look away!

So, remind me never to mention things on this blog that I'm not ready to happen. Like remember last post when I said Colt doesn't crawl and I'm not worried about it because he finds other ways to get around...well, Saturday morning Colt woke up and decided to crawl. Just like that. Like he'd laid in bed all night thinking about it and BOOM decided today was the day.

I was walking at the Race for the Cure with my mom and sister and John called to tell me he was pretty sure we had a crawler. As the weekend went on, he got stronger and stronger at it and is officially all over the place.

Oh, and that wasn't the end of it. He also decided that if he was going to crawl, he might as well start pulling up on everything. AND, why not go ahead and learn to crawl over the side of our crib? Because we wouldn't want to take our time with these things...no, it's much more fun to dive right in.

So we spent our weekend half cheering and showing off, half chasing him around pulling coins and pieces of trash out of his mouth that he crawled and magically found, and lowering the crib mattress. Our poor cat, Faith, is on edge because this THING is actually moving toward her...her poor little lazy life is about to be rocked once again.

He has bumps and bruises on his head where he's pulled up on things only to lose strength in his legs and tumble forward. But, you know, he is SO happy. He loves it, he loves the cheering and excitement we're showing every time he does some other adorable milestone.

Watching him peer through the slats of the crib last night made me very nostalgic and sad and happy all at the same time. In a matter of 48 hours he grew up. He's SO BIG. He does big boy things and he's so strong. He's not a little baby anymore and it's only going to get worse. He's only going to grow up faster and faster and I won't ever get this weekend back. I won't ever get this milestone and that day of discovery back...we'll just march forward to a new one.

How awesome and heartbreaking.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

One boy, one special boy

I wanted to talk a little about Colt. I'm not great at the month-by-month update, but there are certain things about right now I want to remember! Rambling...

-He got his first tooth on September 21st, bottom right front. His second tooth arrived yesterday, October 7th in the middle of two awful ear infections and after a loooooong night of crying by all three Anderson's!
- He claps when we say "Yaaaaay!". In the morning I get him out of bed, we sit in the chair for a minute, and we wait for our cat Faith to come in the room (she always does). When she does, we say "There's the kitty, yaaaaay!". He lights up and starts clapping. It is THE. CUTEST. THING. EVER. No, seriously, the cutest thing ever.
- His hair grows faster than I can imagine. He got his third haircut at the tail end of August and he desperately needs his fourth. It is so thick and on top it starts to look like a toupee if it gets too long! But I love it, it's soft and makes him look so handsome.
- He HATES getting dressed. I mean, hates it. Hates getting undressed, hates getting new clothes on. It's not that he hates having clothes on and prefers to be naked...it's just he hates the physical act of clothes coming on and off. Every morning it's a fight to get ready for school and it wears me out. A couple of weeks ago, it was a particularly hard fight and I was sweating and out of breath from wrangling him. But the pants I put on him were too small and he looked ridiculous. They were too short and a little too tight...but I just took him to school anyway! I told him he was just going to look silly and that was the consequences. I told the teachers not to make fun of him, but I think they did and they ended up putting him in some of their shorts for the day because they felt so sorry for him! But I didn't...
- He is babbling all the time now. No real words, but he talks away like he knows just what he's saying. I have the best conversations with him.
- Sometimes when he gets up really early, I put him in our bathtub while I take a shower and get ready for the day. Kind of like a built-in playpen. However, now that he's starting to pull up I can no longer do that. Forget the potential head injuries on the marble tub edge...he can reach the faucets and the last thing I need is him to turn scalding hot water on himself while I'm washing shampoo out of my hair!
- He is starting to pull up, though he can't quite get his legs in the right position underneath him to go all the way. His upper body strength is phenomenal.
- He doesn't crawl. And I'm ok with that and I'm not going to work on it. He has very clear ways to get where he needs to go: 1) rolling all over the room, 2) bouncing on his bottom across the room, and 3) reaching with Inspector Gadget hands.
- He likes to try and eat our cheeks.
- He loves trees and streetlights. He'll crain his neck and reach with his Inspector Gadget arms anytime we see them. Christmas lights will be so much fun for him!
- He's really digging Mickey Mouse Playhouse in the mornings.
- He dances and claps to all church songs, especially Jesus Loves Me. Which is just all kinds of humorous.
- When he comes home from school each day, it takes less than 30 seconds for him to get his sleepy blanket, rub his eyes and go to sleep.
- He has 2 favorite sleepy blankets, hand-crocheted that he runs his fingers through and rubs on his face.

So much more...but this is all I have time for now. Thanks for indulging me!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Because I Read Tabloid Magazines

I spent most of the week in the Sacramento-area, enjoying their food and their restaurants with patios where people actually sit and eat without their hair and napkins blowing in their face. It was Heaven.

I also had what turned out to be a surprisingly emotional day yesterday for me, and I wasn't expecting it. I'm not sure when or if I'll be ready to talk about it...but basically I'm looking for any suggestions of blogs to read or online communities of people who have adopted and then (CLICHE ALERT) gotten pregnant. I can't find much out there. When we were going through infertility, I found so many blogs of people that inspired me and understood my journey, same thing when we were adopting. I find myself once again to be in a place where not a lot of people in my real everyday life can understand the range of emotions and questions and feelings I have...if you know of anywhere please leave a comment!

Trust me...it will spare you a post here which would leave most of you gagging or rolling your eyes or huffing in disgust at THAT lady who (OF COURSE) got pregnant after adopting and then tried to complain about it.

Ok...in other news I have to discuss a few pop culture items. Must do it, so let's go.

Roman Polanski
Look, ok, the dude essentially drugged and RAPED a 13-year-old girl (don't kid yourself, Whoopi Goldberg, it was rape because 13-year-old girls just don't have the capacity to consent to sex with a middle-aged man). I don't care if it was 30 days ago or 30 years ago...he did it and OH BY THE WAY he ADMITTED to it. He's guilty. And then he ran away. He ran away to avoid being punished for raping a 13-year-old girl.

If this was a priest who had committed this crime and gotten away with it for 30 years, or a stepfather, or an everyday average Joe trust me when I tell you Hollywood would be calling for blood. They would be all about how this person deserves to be punished, taking responsibility for their actions, punishing to the fullest extent of the law, and so forth. The fact that they want us all to "move on" and let it go for Roman Polanski because he is a brilliant director and has suffered by not being "allowed" back in the U.S. for 30 years...we should all be VERY angry at how these celebrities are patronizing us.

Not one of them would stick up for us if we were in that position. And their egos are so out of control they think we should let the rape of a child go unpunished because someone is talented? WHAT?! Roman Polanski hasn't suffered. First of all, he's allowed to come back to the U.S. anytime he wants. In fact, imagine how much simpler life would be if he would have just taken his punishment when it was given, served, and moved on. Come on back, Roman, and face the music anytime. We welcome you with open American Justice arms. Second of all, his work has NOT suffered by not making movies in Hollywood. Pretty sure it's been in the last, what, 15 years he won an Academy Award for directing a movie. He's a millionaire living in luxury in Europe and STILL winning American awards. He's NOT suffering.

I am appalled at anyone who thinks we should just "forget about it" and "move on". It's not like he can even claim innocence...he admitted it and ran away, people!

Jon Gosselin
Sorry, I can't stop talking about this complete and total scumbag. I stopped watching the show long ago, which is unfortunate because he has 8 of the cutest kids ever. He is ridiculous, total scum. And, look, I'm not saying Kate is all innocent victim here. She is whiny, witchy, and completely out of control (remember long before the divorce rumors even came about, there was talk of how she pushed everyone in her life including her family away because she didn't want them to take her money). But seriously, she hasn't gone out and worn Ed Hardy clothes while flaunting young girls and Hollywood loser dads on her arm.

Everytime I see that man's face I throw up a little in my mouth.

Kardashians
WHY, oh WHY are we continuing to make them stars? Disgusting, self-serving, and untalented. They bring nothing to society, we can't even claim they bring art and talent to the entertainment industry. I'm sick of hearing about them.

David Letterman
Sigh...I'm never surprised when I hear about things like this. But it never stops me from being disappointed.

Ok, I think that's it. Phew, I feel better already! I'm going to visit my grandparents this weekend with Colt, my mom and stepdad. John's staying here so wish me luck!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sickness and BOYS!

So much for being a great blogger, huh?!

First of all, not long after the last post began the days of torturous migraines. Migraines have been a fairly new development for me in the last few years. I never had them before and then one day about 2 or 3 years ago I began getting these ridiculous headaches. They rose to a debilitating point last year and several have sent me to the hospital.

Being pregnant means there are limits to what I can take to manage the pain and side-effects. So all day on Thursday I just sat in our recliner, moving as little as possible. Trying to drink water. I took 3 steaming hot showers (steam helps), 2 baths, and finally some Excedrin Migraine. That evening we went out to dinner, and it did a world of good to get out of the house. I dealt with come-and-go headaches throughout the weekend but I was actually pretty proud of myself for managing through the pain without a lot of medication. Not that I am going to keep that up after baby is born or anything.

Sunday began the week-o-doctor trips. After a fairly typical Sunday morning, we picked Colt up from Bible class and he was suddenly very, very lethargic and snuggly. This is a boy who, no matter how tired he is, always has his head up checking people out and wants to be in-the-know. He's at a point now where he really doesn't nap anywhere except his bed (no more car, very rarely in Grandma or Mimi's arms at church, not even in bed with me). He's just busy and aware all the time. So my mama instinct began to tingle a little...something wasn't right.

My mom rocked him during church service because John and I were puppets in Children's Church. By the time she brought him to us an hour later, you could quite literally fry an egg off his body he was SO hot. It was astonishing how hot he was. Mama Instinct was now in overdrive and I hollered at John that we had to go right then. We raced to urgent care where his pediatrician is...only to find a major back up in a waiting room full of sick people (shocking, right?). The masks, the coughing, the piles of snotty kleenex, the feverish children...it was too much and Colt was beginning to be unresponsive, not able to keep his eyes open.

We went to another urgent care where our good friend, Kyle was working as a PA. We got right in and, as always, he took great care of us. Colt had a temp of 103! A little Motrin and Colt was feeling much better. He tested negative for all the flu (thank goodness) and negative for RSV. He got a breathing treatment and we went home. He's now been home all week, because the high fever lasted until Wednesday morning, then he broke out into a crazy rash. We saw his pediatrician on Wednesday who said it was a classic case of roseola. He's fine now, not even contagious, though still very polka-dotty! He also FINALLY has a tooth, and an ear infection so it's been a rough and painful week for the little man.

Tuesday was our BIG ultrasound! We were actually both pretty anxious about it, we both were up until about 1 a.m. the night before unable to sleep. We were excited, and part of me was very nervous because I knew it was about more than just the sex of the baby. They were checking to see if everything was working right, that the development was ok, and all major organs were there, and that there were no signs of birth defects at this point.

Once again, we had a friend in the medical field who took great care of us. Laura was our ultrasound tech and she found the baby right away and as soon as I could see the heart fluttering I started to relax. First sign that everything was ok. She said she usually looks at everything else and goes over the sex of the baby last. But, well, after about 5 seconds it was undeniable. Our little BOY was flashing his manhood all over the screen, proud as can be, and it was obvious he wanted us to know right away!

He was VERY active, moving all over the place, flipping and turning and kicking. The placenta is low-lying and forming a layer between my stomach and the baby so it will be a while before I can feel all that movement. He likes his hands up by his head, and likes to sit spread eagle as often as possible. We saw each and every beautiful, normal organ, a normal spine and head, all limbs accounted for.

We came home and told Colt he was going to have a baby brother, but he was much more interested in the cat. He's been practicing pulling up on the coffee table and pretty much that's what he wants to do all day, every day so baby news doesn't interest him much. He also is into clapping now and it is THE. CUTEST. THING. EVER.

So, Colt's going to have a baby brother. We're going to have two sons. We could not be more excited, it could not feel more perfect. Two little boys to fill our house with dirt and frogs and football helmets and sweaty clothes and cars and waterguns...what an adventure!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Housekeeping

Couple of housekeeping things...

First of all, I'm starting to feel a little more inspired to be a better blogger! Between being really busy at work, so tired in the evenings and wanting nothing more than to play with Colt I've really slacked off. I'm still obsessed with reading blogs, but I'm finally starting to feel like I can come to life back here again. Hopefully you guys have stuck around. I'm working on some plans for hopefully a new design, some new ideas for posts, etc.

Second, I wanted to just throw out there a few things about comments. I am a terrible commenter but this is not all my fault. A lot of times I read blogs on my phone or while I'm on a break at work. My work computer currently operates on a really old version of Internet Explorer. For some reason, this version does not allow me to comment in the new commenting style of blogger. So unless there is a separate window that comes up (old school, like it's been for ages) I can't comment while I'm at work. So then, I get home and busy and lost momentum to go back and comment. I also read most on my phone while falling asleep or when I first wake up...hard to comment on a phone.

Don't let that confuse you into thinking I'm not reading or thinking about you all! I read every one of the blogs on my links lists and more. Anytime a new blogger comments on my site, I immediately go to your site, get caught up, and add you! So hopefully in the near future I will be a better commenter, but right now it is truly out of my control.

Finally, if you comment on here and have a private blog, please know that I would love to follow you. There's a couple of you recently (fortheloveof_grace, I'm looking at you!) but I don't know how to send you a request. I'm not AS good about following private blogs every day (because they don't show up on my feed reader, and then I forget for a few days, blah blah) but I DO love to read along! So, once you comment, please just assume I'd like an invitation to your blog. My e-mail is on the sidebar so you can send it to me.

If you're reading and have never commented and I don't know about you, please come out of hiding so I can get to know you. Honestly, I LOVE reading new blogs! Especially as many of my favorites have become a lot like me and not writing as much. You can send me an e-mail if you don't want to comment...I won't think you're weird or anything I promise. I mean, I've gone out of my way to meet people from blogland in real life, I'm also pretty open with Facebook if you prefer to get to know me that way. Just friend me!

Ok...housekeeping out of the way. Also, sarah7181 sometime would you please send me an e-mail and tell me about yourself? I love that you leave comments but you don't have a blog (at least not on blogger). So let me know if there is somewhere I can follow you.

The End. Love you all!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making it Official

Our wonderful judge, our incredible lawyer Rachel Stoddard Morris, and our official forever family on September 1st, 2009. A dream come true!

A few Gotcha Day Party Photos!