Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baby C - 9 months!

Today C had his 9 month appointment! I was very curious to see how much weight he'd put on and if he'd jumped percentiles again. My sister R, the PT, said he's as big as some of her much older kiddos. I was carrying him on Sunday in the baby bjorn at Mass and DH said he looked like C should be walking on his own when he looked at me coming back from communion, haha. :)

So...

Height: 30 inches - 85-90th percentile
Weight: 23.4 pounds - 85th percentile
Clothes: Wearing a few remaining 12 month shirts, but mostly 12-18 months

Woo-hoo, C!!! Definitely growing and thriving!

Some of his stats:

Health - Healthy boy here! Dang, homemade formula and real food is workin'! :) No teeth yet, but chewing on everything in sight. He LOVES his spoons. Sometimes he has a spoon in one hand while I'm feeding him with another. I really hope those teeth pop through soon! Got his 3rd TDap vaccine today and first blood draw to check his iron level.

Food - C's favorite is bananas and then sweet potatoes. He's had chicken, carrots, broccoli, avocado, pears (I broke down and got a few organic jars of pears since they're not in season). He almost always has some banana in the morning. He's eating 3 meals a day, formula before naps and bed and occasionally sips of water. He's "learning" how to drink from a cup - he's kind of lapping it with his tongue, haha. I've used sippy cups too, but he really seems to want to do what DH & I are doing. The other day he was begging for oranges and I hated to have to tell him he'd have to wait until he was a year. I mean, he was really going after my plate! :) Next up is beef and liver and salmon.

Sleep - Well, we're working on this one. He is finally sleeping through the night, almost 12 hours on the nose (usually he goes down between 7 and 8 and is up at the same time the next morning). His naps really vary - finally his morning nap is getting longer - I'm putting him down earlier - so most days both naps are about 1 1/2 hours (sometimes the afternoon is 2). He is having a hard time falling asleep on his own. A few days this week he wouldn't go down for naps by himself, he only would fall asleep lying next to me on my bed, not in his crib. I'm reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, but am having a hard time with the cry-it-out method. C is sometimes better at night, at least, if I put him down before he's totally out. Last night he woke up around midnight and was crying so DH brought him to bed while I took my shower and C clearly thought it was playtime. He was WIDE awake until 2 am. DH fell asleep, I fed C in his room, tried to put him down in his crib (unsuccessfully) so I brought him back to bed, where he "slept" for about a minute, then was wide awake flapping, clapping and rolling next to me, and he would NOT go back to sleep. I finally put him in his crib at 1:45 and he cried for 15 minutes, then was out. And he was totally cheerful this morning after I figured he'd hate me for abandoning him... sigh.  Advice would be welcome if you've gotten your little one to fall asleep on their own!

Milestones so far
C isn't crawling forward yet - he goes backward by pushing and he scoots around pretty well on his rear, though sometimes he doesn't go in the direction he wants! He can get up on all fours and rock back and forth, but nothing forward, without help. This is one of the things his PT will work on (we began in-home therapy this week). He sits up on his own like a champ and can pull himself up in his crib - has been doing that for about 2 weeks now. He LOVES standing and bouncing. "You should be dancing" is a favorite (he always starts wiggling his butt with "dancing") and also "Monkeys jumping on the bed". It is SO funny to see! :) He's great at clapping - and sometimes responds to "If You're Happy and You Know It". He scrunches his nose up and sniffs really fast - he started doing it on his own a few months ago and now he responds to DH or me doing it and does it back. He really likes the piano - playing it, and closing the lid! He also likes holding onto my hands and walking around the room. A few times he's stood on his own for a few seconds. He's saying Mama, Dada, Baba and Nana.  Mama is always what he says when he's upset (does he know I want to go running to him?!) My favorite though is when I ask him where Baby Jesus is - he knows where the manger is in our living room (we leave it up until February 2nd) and he will give Baby Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph kisses when I ask. It is SO sweet! :) There have been a few attempts at eating Mary's head though... I figure she understands, right?

Happy 9 months, sweet C! Daddy and I love you bunches!!!



Aforementioned love of spoons :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WHW: Valentine's Day craft

Welcome Home Wednesdays


Yup. Pinterest strikes again! I saw some cute Valentine's day printables and remembered the card I made for DH last year... 

I have a Martha Stewart hearts all-over-the-page punch (I love those!!!) so I grabbed that, a piece of hot pink cardstock, a piece of white cardstock (to layer behind), some tiles from our Bananagrams game, a frame I already had, and in about 5 minutes, came up with this:

I really like how it turned out! :)
*Note to self - do not punch directly over the tablecloth. Picking up little tiny hearts is annoying. :)

Here it is in our living room.

Do you have any cute Valentine's decorations?

Monday, January 28, 2013

HWFD? Asparagus Soup with Poached Eggs


My family used to have asparagus frequently while growing up as my parents had a pretty substantial patch of it in our garden. YUM!!! :) I love it in so many ways, but this was my first try at featuring it in a soup!

I found the recipe in one of the Williams Sonoma catalogs that I receive. I do not have a soup maker blender, nor do I think it's necessary. :) A large stockpot will work just fine. I used a 4 quart stock pot -  and my immersion blender - they worked beautifully. You could also ladle the soup into a regular blender if you have that. I do like the immersion blender because you can really blend to the texture you want - I left mine a little chunky.


Click on source at the bottom of the photo to get the recipe! :)


Oh, and I've made the leftovers for breakfast a few times - who doesn't like to wake up to yumminess? :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bananas!

Have you seen the Hutzler Banana slicer? It's about time someone invented one of these. I saw some of the reviews posted by another blogger and I had to share. Caleb must of thought I was crazy for laughing so hard over some of the comments.
source


Here are some of my favorites:

"I was disappointed that this banana slicer only comes in one model. It works like a charm for bananas that bend to the right, but it utterly useless for left-bending bananas. I end up having to eat my left curved bananas un-sliced like some kind of animal."

"I can't believe anyone could be so inept as to think that they couldn't slice their bananas because they bent "the wrong way." All that person has to do is to buy the model 571C Banana Slicer that is for bananas that bend the other way. Although I prefer left-bending bananas, I got both the 571B and the 571C so that when shopping, I don't have to have the hassle of finding bananas with the correct polarity. I hope "Angle Was Wrong" sees the light and removes that harsh one-star rating for this indispensable product duo."

"Once I figured out I had to peel the banana before using - it works much better. Ordering one for my nephew who's in the air force in California. He's been using an old slinky to slice his banana's. He should really enjoy this product!"

"I can't believe I have wasted the first 35 years of my existence on this earth by not having this wonderful banana slicer. All this time I have been standing there at the kitchen counter like a complete IDIOT wasting countless seconds slicing my bananas with a knife. A KNIFE!!!! Can you believe how foolish I was?"

"What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn't already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone.... this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day's banana slices. It's one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old "I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?" and of course, "You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!" These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship. It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That's when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we've even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!"

"No more throwing bananas at the ceiling fan for me! This product has saved me the work of peeling the banana slices off the wall after the fan slices them. Thanks, banana slicer!"

"I have served in the US Army for over 12 years. I can say that there is technology being used by the military that is rarely seen in the civilian sector. Once in a while, however, an amazing product is released by the DoD for civilian use. The 571B is one of those products. Although once called the M571B Tactical Banana Slicer (TBS)V1, they have declassified it for public use. I am glad to see this product on the market today but I will warn you now, this is a CIVILIAN model and not designed for field use!"

"This is the greatest kitchen utensil ever! Can't believe how much time I used to waste with a ruler and pencil, marking my bananas to get those perfectly uniform slices. I was terrible at geometry and trigonometry so it was hard for me to get exact measurements on curved bananas with a straight ruler. Then I had to go back and remove the pencil marks after slicing. There was always that tiny eraser smudge on every slice. This wonderful gadget frees up much more time that can be spent marking my cantaloupes for perfect slices--and boy do I need all the help I can get. It's even harder to use my ruler to mark round fruit than curved fruit. Hutzler, you're the best. All my friends are getting one of these for Christmas."

Click on the slicer for more hilarity! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Feast of the Annunciation

It was in college when I first saw this in a devotional bible for women. I loved it then... still love it now.

Virgin

by Luci Shaw

As if until that moment
nothing real
had happened since Creation

As if outside the world were empty
so that she and he were all
there was - he mover, she moved upon

As if her submission were the most
dynamic of all works: as if
no one had ever said Yes like that

As if one day the sun had no place
in all the universe to pour its gold
but her small room.
Happy Feast of the Annunciation!!

WHW: Saving Christmas cards

Welcome Home Wednesdays

I love getting Christmas cards - our fridge was covered with them for December. :) But what to do with them when Christmas is over? In years past, I always felt bad, but I ended up tossing them sometime in February after they just remained in an unorganized pile. I could never figure out what to do with them. An album was out because the cards come in all kinds of different sizes; plus, I wanted to save a few cards that had sweet handwritten notes in them.

Enter Pinterest!

Shocking, right? ;)

source


What a great idea! I stopped by Staples, picked up some book rings, printed up some covers (I used these, but I added the year using one of my favorite Christmas fonts), grabbed a hole punch and about 10 minutes later, I had this:




Yay!!

Do you save your Christmas cards? Are you inspired to now? :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 years and 50 million lives lost


How amazing are the women who fight against the culture of death and choose LIFE for their unborn children. 

"Through moral conscience God speaks to each of us, inviting us to defend human life at all times, and in this personal bond with the Creator lies the profound dignity of moral conscience and the reason for its inviolability. It is necessary that society as a whole must defend the conceived child's right to life and the true good of the woman who can never, in any circumstances, find fulfillment in the decision to abort."
Pope Benedict XVI


Monday, January 21, 2013

Tax info for 2012 Adoptive Parents *Update

Just some info for those of you who adopted in 2012 and who may not have finalized your adoption yet...

I downloaded TurboTax (yes, I have a bit of OCD and like to start my return get my money back ASAP :)) and when I went to claim C as a dependent, I was informed that I needed a social security number for him or a tax ID#. Fortunately, we just got his new birth cert. in the mail and I am going early tomorrow morning our local SSA office to apply for his SSN. As I checked the SSA website, I saw this info for adoptive parents:

We can assign your adopted child a Social Security number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name, with your name as parent. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, you need to contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions.
Just in case any of you want to get a head start and get an application for a taxpayer ID# if your adoption was not finalized! And, if you did finalize and are heading to your local office to apply for a SSN, make sure you fill out your application (download here) ahead of time.

*Update:
We went to the SSA office this morning and fortunately were out of there in an hour. I recommend getting to your local office before it opens! There was already a line as I had suspected. We got there about 15 minutes prior. The docs the agent requested - his birth certificate (with his adopted legal name), the finalization order from the courts, my ID, the filled out request for his SSN, and another document bearing his name - she said an immunization report or the like. Fortunately, I had the entire adoption file with me, so I gave her the document when he was fitted for his DocBand, although I had other forms from when he received a physical. It was easy, she didn't ask any questions, just looked at the documents, asked me to verify a printout of the correct info (my name and SSN, and DH's, our address and C's name). We should receive it in 7-14 days.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My little Beethoven :)

Don't let the smile fool you. He was hard at work! It took many tries to even get him to look at me, haha! :) Happy Friday, everyone!




Thursday, January 17, 2013

Adoption: Q & A


I saw these posted on GIMH's blog, [thanks GIMH! :)] so I thought I would share my thoughts for those of you who might have questions.

When did you let family/friends know you were starting the process of adoption like starting your home study and working with an agency? 
We let our families know over Thanksgiving (2010), shortly after we had met with one agency and had a webinar with another (the one we chose actually). We told them we were meeting with a few more and that we would then decide what agency to go with. They were all so excited for us. I'll never forget my family's reaction - tears of joy and the room just erupted with excitement! I don't know what kind of reaction I expected, but honestly looking back my thought was - it was as though we announced we were expecting. And in a way, I guess, we were. We just had no idea of our due date. :) We also announced it in our Christmas letter a few weeks later. One of my best friends who had just moved from the area sent me an email and said she literally started crying tears of joy (we were playing phone tag the week before so I wasn't able to share it over the phone) when she read the news. Another friend I did get to tell in person started crying and told me that she and her husband had been praying specifically for that for us. People were just so excited. It was harder to break the news to our best friends, M & D (C's godparents) because they have been struggling with IF a year longer than we have. 

Any tips on how to share the news?
We just kind of told them... with DH's family, we tried to be sensitive because we were also telling his brother and sis-in-law who had gone through 2 miscarriages by then. Since everyone that we told personally knew of our struggles with IF, I don't know that it was that much of a shock. They all knew how much we wanted a family.

How many agencies did you look at before you decided on one?
Five. Four of them were in person and the one webinar - the one we chose. We liked that they were in several states and had online profiles. They also seemed to have a lot of placements. They were actually our second choice - our first choice agency had a statement of faith that we had to sign - as practicing Catholics, we couldn't. In the end though, that too was a blessing! 

Did you have the funding saved prior or did you do loans/fundraising?
We had some funds saved. DH had an investment we were no longer contributing to - and we used most of that. We didn't do any loans or do fundraising. We are counting on the tax credit as well as an employee reimbursement from DH's company to fund future adoptions. 

How did you prepare yourself emotionally for the process? Any special prayers/novenas that were helpful to you at that time?
The Rosary was our main prayer. DH & I also share a special devotion to St. Josemaria so we asked many times for his intercession. When DH and I were in Rome (Oct 2010), a few months right before I started my blog, we prayed before St. Josemaria's tomb and asked for his prayers. While I remember asking to conceive, I believe I also asked for us to be blessed with children. Shortly after we got back from Rome is when I talked to DH about starting to meet with agencies. My prayer was answered.... it was just that my heart really began to embrace adoption as a means to building our family.

Emotionally - part of me was relieved; I knew if we did this, we would be parents. I would be a mom. To some degree, it was freeing from all the IF treatments. Before we actually began the paperwork though (we actually selected our agency), I did go through one more surgery. Since it had been recommended by my doctor, I didn't want to have regrets or any "if only/I wonder if" moments. After that, we pursued both adoption and TTC. I felt that we were open to life and God would let us know how he wanted us to be parents. I didn't want to do anything to stand in the way of either option.

Did you go with a social worker from your agency to do the home study or did you find your own?
Our agency had a social worker in our area who did our home study. She was WONDERFUL. I was so comfortable with her!

How did you go about deciding the degree of open adoption that was best for your family?
Our agency only does open adoptions. We initially said letters and 1 visit per year, but C's birth mom asked for 2 visits per year. One has happened so far. I don't know if she will continue to want this, but we are open to that. You can read more on my thoughts on open adoption here: Why I Love Open Adoption. The agencies we explored all had some degree of openness. 

Were you excited when you started the process of adoption?

Yes! I had finished my last surgery a few months prior, and while we were still TTC, it took some of the pressure off. Again, as I mentioned, I really had a hard time stopping TTC and only pursuing adoption. Once I realized it was just being open to life in any way it came to us, it was such a relief. I really just wondered who the child was who would make me a mom and my husband a father. I still had fears and doubts (when on the waiting list, sometimes it seemed like we waited forever), but my overwhelming emotion was excitement when I thought about it. And I felt like I finally had the right to start looking at baby stuff! [It was really fun once we were on the waiting list and went to create our baby registry. The lady asked when we were due and we said "We don't know!!" Ironically, she put down May 1st as our due date and we got the call April 22nd! How's that for God's timing? :)]

Do you find that others are sad for you when you tell them you are adopting?
No, not at all. I think to some degree it was hard for our close friends who were still dealing with IF (they still are) - they were happy for us and sad for themselves. And I understood that having felt it so many times myself. But others, no - everyone was SO happy for us. 


Copy & Paste questions for any of you who want to share your thoughts in a post! :)
When did you let family/friends know you were starting the process of adoption like starting your home study and working with an agency? 
Any tips on how to share the news?
How many agencies did you look at before you decided on one?
Did you have the funding saved prior or did you do loans/fundraising?
How did you prepare yourself emotionally for the process? Any special prayers/novenas that were helpful to you at that time?
Did you go with a social worker from your agency to do the home study or did you find your own
How did you go about deciding the degree of open adoption that was best for your family?
Were you excited when you started the process of adoption?
Do you find that others are sad for you when you tell them you are adopting?




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy New Year! (Better late than never)

Happy New Year! I'm a little late to the party here, considering that we're already halfway into the month, but here goes...

We had a GREAT week and a half out of town visiting with both sets of families. It was exhausting, though. 3 days in one city, 3 days in the next and back to the first for another 4 days. I was so anxious to get back and sleep in my own bed!!!! I so look forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas when I can wake up in my own bed! Travel was rough on Baby C too. His naps and nighttime sleeping have been completely out of whack since Thanksgiving. He was such a great sleeper before those trips! I'm determined to not go anywhere for quite some time. 

We drove back home on the 1st- yay for no traffic coming back! It took us 7 hours in the car instead of 4 when we left. C was so good in the car... but I, however, get super antsy. I don't really like road trips over 2 hours! Ha! :) 

Our first weekend back we hosted our annual Christmas party. Usually we have it before Christmas, but C's arrival made my husband have to move his retreat to December. We had our adoption agency holiday party one weekend and then hubby was out of town the other weekend we could have held it. Thank goodness for the 12 days of Christmas because we had ours on the 11th day! :) No pipers piping, but C's godmother and I helped lead everyone in some carols - her singing, me playing. It was lots of fun... but lots of work after just getting back into town. We ask people to dress up, which is fun. :) On the menu - bacon-wrapped dates, sausage-stuffed baby portabellas (I have to post that recipe sometime - I normally made them as an entree with regular portabellas), assorted sausages and cheeses, a cheese ball (my Granny's recipe - yum!), gluten-free crackers, and LOTS of Christmas cookies. :) We are still eating cookies... part of me cannot wait until the little devils goodies are out of my freezer. I don't need the temptation... thank goodness Lent is right around the corner, haha! I need a sugar detox!

Caleb's first cousin has arrived!!! We are so excited! Thank you to those of you who prayed for his safe delivery. Baby X and Mama went home from the hospital about a week ago and all is well. It will be such fun to watch X and C grow up together!

New Years Resolutions.... well, this book is helping me get off to a good start:

This one was a recommendation from Sarah over at Clover Lane. Even with an 8-month old, I've found myself rushing around - doing errands, feeling like I need to join Mom's groups, schedule play dates, and so on. While I enjoy getting together with other moms, I really feel that for me, to schedule too many activities, leaves me feeling distracted and rushed.

I'm not even halfway through the book and I. love. it. She touches on a number of areas - but mostly that it's good to have quiet. Sometimes I feel like I need to have music on all the time (fortunately, almost never the TV - it's in the basement and I don't take C down there except when I'm doing laundry), but I know I spend too much time online. That's one of my resolutions this year.

The first thing I did was delete my FB app from my phone! Yay! :) I realized I picked up my phone to check it waaaaay too many times during the day - that first day without it confirmed it. Ugh. I don't think I'll delete my account completely (though I have considered it) because it does keep me in touch with relatives in CA, and of course - many of you! :)

Alright... I better get crackin' while C is nappin'! I am finally getting the rest of our Christmas decorations put away. Our basement area is a mess of containers! :-D

"Planning"



I saw this over on Simply LKJ. I looked at Baby C this morning and well... Yes. I'm blessed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Search bar option help?

Sorry... this is not the most exciting topic for my first post this year, but I'm trying to add the "search this blog" feature to my page. I can add it just fine, but anytime I try to do a search, it comes up empty.

Any ideas??

Thanks!

I promise I will have a "real" post soon! :)
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