Monday, November 24, 2014

How Adopting is Like Becoming a Dad

I currently have a friend going through the newborn adoption process in a situation similar to ours, so all the feelings and emotions related to adoption are running pretty high with me right now.  One thing I've joked about throughout the years related to adopting is that as an adoptive mom, during and right after the pregnancy you sometimes feel more like a dad must feel.  It's kind of hard to explain to someone who hasn't been through it, so I did my best to quickly come up with a list of reasons I feel this way.  For the sake of this post, I'll be using 'he' because that was my experience. 

~ Someone else carries your little person around for nine months.  In your heart you know you already love him even though you can't allow yourself to say it (because what if something falls through... even though in reality, even if birth mom chooses to parent, that baby will always hold a special place in your heart and prayers).

~ You might or might not get to go to OB appointments and/or ultrasounds.

~ If you're lucky, you might get to place your hand on that person's belly and feel this little guy move. 

~ Your friends that are all pregnant during the time you are "paperwork pregnant" (there's an adoption term for ya) have baby showers, but you don't because you either a.) have a hard time allowing that to happen for you or b.) people don't know you're in the adoption process.

~ During delivery, you feel totally and completely helpless as you watch birth mom go through labor knowing there is nothing you can do to help. 

~ Depending on the situation, you might get to be the person to cut the umbilical cord. 

~ You might miss your child's birth all together (*raising hand*).

~ Following delivery, all questions regarding baby's care are directed to birth mom leaving you on the sidelines (even if she has repeatedly told them to go ask you, but maybe that was just the hospital we were at) . 

~ At the hospital, you sleep on the uncomfortable pull out couch part of the time (at least I did since whoever was on baby duty at the moment got the good bed, this threw a few nurses off).

~ You wear normal clothes during your entire hospital stay (if you are lucky enough for the hospital to have an open room for you to stay in) and are free to come and go as you please.

~ When they place that little guy in your arms for the first time, you know without a doubt that he is what has been missing from your life and you will love him forever no matter what.

I laugh when I look at this picture, because it is classic adoptive family first picture (both parents in street clothes, standing in front of a bland colored hospital wall, mom's hair is somewhat fixed, baby is at least a couple of hours old).

I'm sure I left some stuff out, so let's hear it adoptive moms.  How do you think adopting is like becoming a dad?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The First Snowfall

It wasn't much, but we've had the first official snowfall of the year.  Joseph was one excited little boy!  He kept saying, " It really snowing! It really snowing!"  Of course, with that enthusiasm we couldn't say inside all day, so we all bundled up and headed outside.  The boys went out first, and by the time us girls made it out there most of the small amount of snow we did receive had been wiped away.  Joseph was also over the sled and instead wanted to try pulling Sarah.

Sarah loved the sled and was more than eager to be pulled around as long as we were all willing to pull her. 

Joseph preferred making (and throwing) snowballs

and catching snowflakes on his tongue.

The best part about the day was that both of the dogs wanted to join us outside and even felt well enough to play together.  Bella has pretty bad arthritis right now (she was even whimpering with pain as I tried to put her sweater on her), so this was a really big deal. 

Since the dogs were out and enjoying themselves, we decided to attempt a picture of me and all the kids.  That was a bit of a disaster.

So we ended up just taking a couple of me and the human kiddos.

Halloween 2014

Halloween has come and gone and now I'm sitting in our cozy living room while the kids and husband nap and snow falls outside and decided there is no time better than the present to write my Halloween blog post. 

A month or so before Halloween, Sam and I started talking about costume options for the kids.  We wanted something that allowed them to coordinate and they would be happy about.  After throwing around a few options, we settled on Cookie Monster and a cookie.  I knew I could make the costumes as long as I could find blue, scraggly fabric.  I went to both stores that carry fabric in Stillwater and, although they had scraggly material, nobody had blue.  I knew it was polyester, so it wouldn't dye very easily and decided to look online.  The blue scraggly fabric I found online was over $20 per yard plus shipping, so I decided to abandon my Cookie Monster dreams and move on to plan B (have I mentioned I'm sometimes a little cheap?).  My plan B was Charlie Brown and Linus since Sarah is very attached to her crocheted blankets right now, but Sam didn't like that idea since they don't watch Peanuts, so we brainstormed a little more and came up with Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat.  This was going to be perfect since Sarah could wear Joseph's monkey costume from last year and I thought I could make a Man in the Yellow Hat costume pretty easily.  The only problem was that Joseph was adamant that he would be Curious George and Sarah would be "Yellow Hat."  Hopefully this video uploads correctly so you can see what I was up against.

I began researching how to dye polyester fabric online and decided to give it a try.  I called JoAnn's to ask if they carried any polyester dye, and the guy that answered told me no, so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a yard of the white scraggly fabric (because I didn't want to buy a lot of fabric if this wasn't going to work out) as well as some dye that the lady thought was my best bet.  An entire day spent stirring fabric in a dye bath later, I still had white fabric.  At this point, I was pretty much over the whole Cookie Monster thing, so I went to JoAnn's to buy material to make a yellow hat.  As I walked down the aisle to get my yellow dye (for the pants and shirt), I happened to see a selection of DyePoly (the stuff I read online was the best polyester dye) and low and behold they had one package of blue!  I snatched it up and headed home to try it out.  I had hoped to get two packages, but the label said it would dye two large shirts, so I thought it would be enough for 1 yard of fabric.  It was, kind of.  I spent another day stirring fabric in a dye bath with the end result being a lavender color.  Joseph was so excited about his soft cookie monster fabric that I had no choice but to persevere and finish this project.  We went back to JoAnn's to get a pattern only to find they didn't have the one I had planned on buying, so I decided to go with a dinosaur pattern and just omit the spikes, horns, and tail.  I also checked to see if they had received any more dye since I didn't think a yard of fabric would be enough, but they didn't.  Luckily, Joseph is a little on the short side, so I was able to tweak the pattern and have enough fabric.  All in all, I was happy with how my little lavender, curly cookie monster turned out.  And, better yet, Joseph loved it!

Sarah's costume was much easier.  It was pretty much two light brown circle pillows with dark brown "chocolate chip" appliques on it and straps to attach them in four places.  One of my favorite parts is the cookie bow.

The Tuesday before Halloween, we took the kids to the downtown trick or treat.  I had heard they had a costume contest, so of course we had to enter.  We weren't sure where they belonged since they should have been in different age divisions, so we decided Sarah was Joseph's accessory.  I wish I would have known they had a group division, but it's ok.  Joseph ended up winning "funniest costume" in the 2-3 year old class.  He proudly wore his medal around for the rest of the night.

This walking back to the car after a night of trick or treating picture might be one of my all time favorites even though it's blurry.

The next day, it was brought to my attention that the kids were on the front page of the O'Colly (OSU's newspaper).  I didn't realize they were THE front page.

Thursday night, after a short, random on the floor nap,

we decided to carve some pumpkins.  Since it was a little windy and chilly outside, we decided to do this in the garage.  The kids weren't too sure at first,

but Joseph quickly warmed up to it

and was eager to dig in and help

Sarah was more the I'll watch you guys do it type.

I attempted a long exposure picture since it was dark outside and I thought it would be cool with "pumpkin head" as Joseph named him (it was originally "fire head" but got changed), but Joseph did not understand the whole sit completely still part (this pic would be really, really dark under normal circumstances).

After we came back inside, I made the kids stand together so I could get a picture of the Halloween shirts we made this year.  I kind of like them a lot.

After Joseph walked away, Sarah went back and made noise until I took a picture of her by herself.  Isn't she getting big!

Halloween night, Sam went to Dallas to a friend's costume party (we had planned to go together, but due to a lack of sitter ended up doing things this way) while the kids and I went to our church's Harvest Carnival and hit up a couple of friends' houses.

After we put Sarah to bed (sister likes her sleep :), Joseph and I watched the Curious George Halloween movie.

At the party Sam went to, all the guys dressed as Will Ferrell characters.  Sam was Elf.  I'm pretty proud of myself for making this entire costume in a little over 6 hours (not counting the time spent gathering materials the day before)!  Wasn't the whole crew awesome!  I told Sam that if I spent the time and energy making this costume, he had to pose like this all night.

I failed and didn't get any good pictures of the kids before Halloween, I decided to dress them up the following Monday, and try to get some.  This is what it's like taking a picture of a 2 and 1 year old by yourself.

This was the best both of them together picture I could get... and neither of them are smiling.

The best way to get Joseph to sit still for a couple of seconds was to ask him what Cookie Monster does, to which he makes the appropriate sounds and actions,

then laughs.

I finally gave up and decided to just let them play and maybe get a few candid pictures.

Sarah was ok with this.

Joseph promptly told me, "No, I already did that." when I tried to take his picture.

So there you have it, Halloween 2014.  I'm sure Joseph will get a good laugh out of this costume someday.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014 was very different from years past.  Previously, we've had a house full of people to the point of having air mattresses in the living room.  This year, it was all about the kids (even though we still would have been completely cool with house guests :). 

For us, homecoming week started Tuesday night when we went to the annual Harvest Carnival.  Children are encouraged to dress up in their Halloween costumes, but since I hadn't made their costumes yet that wasn't an option for us.  Luckily, we received an awesome Pistol Pete costume with some hand me down clothes.  Joseph was super excited to wear it, especially when I told him we could draw a mustache on his face like the real Pistol Pete!  Before we left for the carnival, he kept looking at himself in the mirror and laughing, it was so cute!

Since it was an OSU carnival and to go along with Joseph's costume, we decided to dress Sarah as an OSU cheerleader (you know, since she just happened to have this adorable cheerleader outfit in her closet). 

Getting a picture of the two of them was a lost cause.  Joseph just wanted to throw the little pumpkins and Sarah just wanted to watch him. 

The carnival was pretty cool.  Basically all the sorority-fraternity teams and campus groups had booths with games and after the kids played each game they received a piece of candy or small toy.  Needless to say, the kids really enjoyed it. 

When we walked by this game (and every time he sees this picture), Joseph was very concerned that Pistol Pete was missing his mustache.  He's a pretty observant 2 year old. 

It was funny how many of the college students asked to either take pictures of or with Joseph because they thought his costume was so cute.

In Stillwater (and for all OSU alums), every Friday (especially those before football games) is considered Orange Friday.  It's always fun to run errands on Fridays and see everyone dressed in their orange attire.  The kids and I decided Orange Friday of homecoming week warranted a picnic lunch at the orange playground in town even though it isn't the most young toddler friendly. 

The sweetest part of the trip was when Joseph not only shared, but gave Sarah the first sip of his special drink without being prompted.  He really is a great big brother. 

During nap that day, our only visitors of the weekend arrived.  Uncle Ben and Aunt Kim stopped by for a little bit before heading back to Tulsa since Ben had to work Saturday and Gammy and Bryar came to spend the weekend.  I had made shirts for the cousins, but decided to make them each a little different this time.  I won't make this mistake again since the boys were a little disappointed one said "Go Pokes" and the other said "Cowboys" while Sarah's said "State".  I barely managed to get one semi-decent picture of the three of them in their new attire.

But I have to admit this was my favorite picture.  Sweet Sarah smiling at us while the boys are doing what they do best, tearing stuff up.

I thought they might do better if we moved over by the pumpkins.  Sarah was too busy playing with one of the little ones (and drooling all over her shirt).

While the boys were too busy stacking all the pumpkins away from Sarah.

After we all went to dinner, Sam, the kids, and I went up to walk around.  We decided to forgo the stroller and just use carrying devices.  Sadly, this was probably Joseph's last adventure in the backpack since Sam said he's getting a little heavy. 

Although it doesn't look like it here, he actually loves the backpack carrier.  He was just upset that I was asking him to look at me to take a picture.

Sarah was happy in the sling, but I'll gladly let Sam carry her in the backpack next time.

After we got home, the kids took baths, read bedtime books, and settled in for a good night's sleep in preparation for a busy Saturday. 

Saturday started with a good old-fashioned (super long!) parade.  Next year we know to get there a little earlier and to make sure we're on the East side of the street so we aren't looking into the sun the entire time.  How cute do these three look standing there watching the parade?

About half way through the parade, Sarah decided to sit on my lap and was thrilled to get a sucker.  Can you see that her hair is finally long enough to go over her headband a little!

Since the parade lasted so long, we decided to skip heading home for a bit like we had planned and instead went to one of my favorite places of all time (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) for a little late morning snack.  This might have been Bryar's first chocolate and caramel apple because he was very unsure about it at first, but eventually tore into it.

Sarah had to settle for a white chocolate covered pretzel that she thoroughly enjoyed.  The kids also shared some blackberry cobbler ice cream, but I don't have any pictures of that because we were very busy helping kids get ice cream on their spoons as fast as possible. 

To help solidify my position as the cool aunt, we rode the bus from downtown to campus for some pre-game festivities.  Bryar's I'm excited and nervous for my first bus ride smile cracks me up.  He looked like this the entire ride. 

Poor Sarah, she gets kicked out of the double stroller when cousin Bryar is around since she's the easiest one to push in the little stroller.  She doesn't seem to mind.

Much to the delight of two little boys, we hit up the kid zone on the North side of the stadium.  I can't even tell you how many times they did this giant inflatable slide thing.

I finally convinced them to try something else, so they jumped in the bounce house for just a little bit,

scoped out the football kick,

and decided to play on the slide some more.

As the line for the slide started getting longer and longer, we decided they should move on to something else.  They decided to finally try the football kick 

and get their faces painted.

Although they decided to get the "face paint" on their hands to they could look at it.

After lots of inflatable fun and a little lunch, it was time for the game to start.  Since my mom had scored a pair of club level seats and was nice enough to let Sam go with her since my step-dad was out of town, we consolidated the strollers so the kids and I could head home for naps.  Joseph loved being the captain of the ship.

We had the bus to ourselves and an awesome driver on the way back to our truck making it an even better ride than the first one.

Bryar was too busy looking out the window to take a picture.

Once we finally made it home, the kids all crashed!  Later that evening, the boys made their Halloween shirts.  I don't have any pictures of this process because there was bleach involved and I was a little worried about the whole 2 year olds and bleach combo.

Joseph also managed to fit in some late night giggles with Gammy while Bryar played with "Baby Sarah".

Sis, thanks for letting Bryar come up and spend the weekend with us!  Joseph loved having his buddy in town to share this adventure with.

If you're interested in reading about Homecomings of the past, you can fine them at these links 2013 2012 2011 .