Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22

Day 22

Gus at Wal-Mart
I don't think there's a better way to wake up than to the aroma of deliciousness coming from downstairs. :)

This morning Steve got up with Gus around 8ish and then made his famous ham and cheese hash brown casserole. It takes an hour to bake, but holy smokes... it's the greatest thing to eat!

I had a 11:30 eye appointment at Target, so we headed off for my annual visit. The good news is that I don't need my bifocals anymore (whoo hoo) but I needed new lenses and as a result, new frames. I love my current glasses, and really wanted to keep them, but then I'd have to go 7-10 days without them and that's not an option.

So... the next time I go and need new frames, I will use these and rotate through the new ones and the current ones. I'm excited to get the new frames though and they're blue. :)  I hope they don't make me look awful... the wrong pair of glasses can really screw up your appearance!

After Target we headed to Red Robin to celebrate Steve's birthday with a free burger! We ended up sharing the BBQ one and they even cut it and gave us each 1/2 with some fries. The total with drinks was less than $15 (we also had a 1/2 order of mozzarella sticks). It was a delicious lunch.

Then we hit up Wal-Mart for our weekly trip. I don't know what the heck was happening there, but they only had three lines open and as a result, we ended up standing in line for just under an hour. I would have just left, but we needed to get the trip over with and have the items for our possible snow this week.
Here is a picture of Gus while we waited in line at Wal-Mart:
Gus expressing his feelings on waiting in line!

On the way home from Wal-Mart I talked to my SIL Heather... it was so nice to talk to her and catch up and hear her advice on feeding. She said just the right things and I'm so glad I talked to her. :)

Once we got home and put the groceries away, I brought Gus up for his afternoon nap and then I worked on my February newsletter for my MOMS Club. I think it turned out really cute. :)
Our evening pretty much was zapped away and we watched a little Ghost Adventures (the worst episode yet) and then we brought Gus up for bed. 

I got on Facebook and added some pictures to my Former Students of Ms. Kramer now Mrs. Walker group and just felt so warm and fuzzy looking back on the great memories of teaching in Michigan and at Oak Grove. One of my all-time most favorite students friend requested me and it was so amazing to see him! He is friends with other former students that tagged him in a picture on the group page.

This kid was so awesome. He was in my third grade and when I started the year I was Mrs. Kramer (August) and then went through my divorce in November and became Ms. Walker. One day he said to me, "What happened to your r?" I was confused and asked him what he meant and he said, "You used to be MRS and now you're MS... what happened to your r?" How cute is that?

This same boy told me he wanted to marry me, and actually called me one weekend and asked me on a date to the movies. This was all before I realized you shouldn't give parents your phone number and shouldn't go on dates with students (lol). Anyway, he and I went to the movies and he was so cute... he held the door open for me and everything. This was the same kid that everyone warned me about and told me what a jerk he was. They said he was rotten and mean, and didn't listen to anyone. I loved him so much.

One day I was reading my all-time favorite children's book "Hooway for Wodney Wat" by Helen Lester. This book is about a rat named Rodney but he cannot pronounce his Rs. So the mean girl Camilla Capybara picks on and bullies everyone and they're playing Simon Says and Rodney says, "Go Rest" but instead is sounds like "Go West" and so she starts to hear West and is never seen again. :)  

When I finished this child said to me, "Ms. Kramer... I am just like Wodney."  (He couldn't pronounce his Rs either.) Talk about the sweetest little boy! I would walk my kids to the buses each day and he'd stand outside his bus with me as long as he could... then he'd give me a big hug... race onto the bus... and then wave to me as the bus left. He did this EVERY DAY. :)

I ran into him in June 2007 at Rolling Hills water park (annual 5th grade end of the year field trip). I had moved from Redner to Childs and was teaching 5th grade instead of 3rd. Oddly enough, the kids that I taught in 5th at Childs ended up in the same grade as him in middle school (because I had moved up two grade levels). Anyway, I saw him and he looked the same but a little bigger. He was always a tiny little guy. He was so cute and was so excited to see me at Rolling Hills. I told him I was moving to NC and he was sad.

I knew that would be the last time I ever saw him, but I never dreamed that I'd reconnect with him on Facebook. After becoming friends and commenting back and forth on pictures, his status said, "I miss elementary school.  :("   I wrote and told him that he was my favorite and he wrote back and said, "I have no questions about you being my favorite teacher :D  "   It made me smile.

Speaking of things that made me smile... holy crap. Steve sent me the FUNNIEST thing that I've seen in a long time. I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face and my stomach hurt. If you'd like to see it... email me and I'll forward it. It's all these iPhone text messages that because of the stupid auto-correct feature in the texting system, the messages are outrageous. It's so awesome.

Okay... enough for tonight. Steve has requested that for his birthday he gets a day... any day he chooses to be his day to sleep in. I said okay... and now I have to be careful that he'll pick tomorrow and I'll have been up too late. I don't want to be exhausted and have him pick tomorrow morning for me to have Gus duty all by myself!!

Open Adoption Roundtable #23

This OAR comes from reading another blog and answering the seven questions that she has posted about open adoption. Here's the blog that the questions come from:  Ignorant Questions About Open Adoption.

1. If open adoption is so great, why do so many people suck at it? By this I mean, not honoring commitments, closing the adoption, telling the other family they’re not “doing this thing” correctly or playing the “for the sake of the child” card?
I think the reason that open adoption is so difficult is because you're dealing with children, and people who have put themselves out there and are vulnerable. I think adoptions come with a lot of emotion and you're involving yourself with someone that under other circumstances, you might not associate with them. As an adoptive mom in an open adoption, I can say that it takes effort and not everyone is willing to do that. We keep our eyes on the bigger picture and try to remember that everything that we do is for our son. 

2. From the standpoint of first parents, open adoption sounds like something that could prolong suffering. Could this suffering potentially outweigh the good of knowing where your child is? Who helps the first parent?
I think it depends on the situation. Some "first parents" don't want to be parents. Some have no desire to raise a child and the idea of placing their baby in the arms of a family who will love them, raise them with a solid foundation, and will also keep them in the loop and share pictures with them, is a win-win.

As someone who has never been able to conceive, I can't imagine what it'd be like to get pregnant, not want to parent, and decide to place it in the arms of another person. However, if I had the option of knowing as much as I could about this baby and seeing pictures/videos, and possibly seeing it and being apart of its life, or not having anything to do with it at all, I think I'd pick an open adoption.

I think "first parents" need as much support as they can get and adoption agencies usually provide support to the birth mothers. In the case of adoption, it's not just the birth mom who loses a baby. The extended family and the birth father (if he's aware) also lose. For that reason alone, we wanted an open adoption.

3. I’m guessing kids are not hung up on how many relatives they have. Tell me that the thing that hangs up the public all the time about open adoption and other unconventional relationships—two mommies, two daddies, three, four, parents—is the least of your worries because it seems to me it is.
It's the very least of my worries. The more people that love my son, the better.

4. Do you ever feel like you should give this child back? Does the thought ever seize you totally as you watch your child with her bio-family: “ooops?” (OR for f-parents: Do you ever feel as though you need to take this child back? That nothing is stopping you beside an agreement that feels false? Does that feeling go away?)
Maybe we got really lucky on this one, but I have never had any feeling that said to give my son back to his birth mother. I cannot wait for them to see him at his first birthday and love on him and enjoy the boy that he is. We are in debt to them and are enthusiastic about sharing his milestones and big events with them. I can't wait for my son to get old enough to understand that he has a birth family that loves him very much, and to have them be apart of his life. He's so very lucky to have so many people who love and care about him!

5. How do children ever cope with knowing they could not be kept? When they see their natural parents having more kids, what do they think? Who helps the child in this situation? Both sets of parents?
My son is only eight-months-old so I haven't experienced this yet, however, I think it'll take a lot of communication and understanding on our part to help him deal with this. I think it's my job as his mom to help him understand his adoption and to make sure that he knows he is loved by many. When his birth mom and dad have additional children (which I'm sure they will-- they were both minors when he was born), we'll share the information with him and explore his thoughts and feelings and help him understand and cope as much as we can. Through constant communication from birth on, he will always know that he's adopted, and will know that his birth parents loved him so very much and weren't ready to parent anyone. They loved him so much that they placed him into our arms.

6. Can you say comfortably that some surrendering mothers could not cope with an open adoption or do you think that it should always be the standard?
The only way an open adoption can work is if everyone involved agrees and is on the same page with the expectations of the adoption. It should NOT be the standard because not everyone can handle an open adoption. I would hate to enter into an open adoption with birth parents that were forced into it. It would make the whole thing uncomfortable and hurt the child in the long-run. If a surrendering mother wanted to place a child for adoption and wanted it to be closed, that should be her choice. I'd be afraid that if it was mandatory to have open adoptions, more women would choose abortion.

7. Is there ever a reason (aside from extreme/illegal behaviors) to close an adoption totally?
Does this mean it was open and then closed? I think if there's anyone involved and they do not feel comfortable with the open adoption, it should be discussed honestly. I don't think it's right to enter into an open adoption and then close it without both sides being in agreement. I think if the birth mother decided to close the adoption and not want anything to do with the child, it'd be easier to deal with than if the birth mom wanted the open adoption and the adoptive family decided to pull out and close it. I think that'd be more painful for the birth mother.

What a great prompt and it really made me think!!! I'm eager to hear what others think!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21

Day 21

It's funny the difference that a day can make. I had a great day today and while the battle of the spoon was still on my mind, I spent the day with a new friend and enjoyed myself and just had fun. We went to the Bodies Revealed exhibit in Greensboro (about a two hour drive) and it was fascinating. If you've never been and ever have the chance to go, it's quite worth it.

Because my parents gave us our NC Zoo membership as a Christmas gift, I was able to get into the exhibit at a reduced price, and so was my friend. Together we saved $14 (not too bad) and got into the museum for free (the exhibit cost extra).

It was so weird to see what the inside of the body looks like. Unless you're a mortician or a doctor/nurse, you probably have never had the chance to see the body up close and personal. It was interesting to me that all of the bodies on display were males, and were all very short, lean, and small framed. It would have been interesting to see overweight bodies and the extra fat, just like the black lungs and cancer lungs (there was a clear box for people to deposit their cigarettes after seeing the lungs).  Maybe it would have been too gross for me and I'd become a super-health freak and lose a bunch of weight because the image was burned into my brain. (Hehehehe) :D

All in all, it was awesome and I'm so glad that I went. Gus did a great job and thankfully I brought the Ergo with me because there was a no stroller policy. It would have been awful to carry his squirmy self through the tour. Instead, he snuggled up to me and was such a happy boy to be close to me and have something fun to stick in his mouth (a teething ring). 

I think the most phenomenal part was the baby room. They had several fetus's at various parts of a pregnancy and you could see the development. The first was at 12 weeks and you could see fingers... then 14 weeks, 16 weeks, 18 weeks and 20 weeks. The difference in size was amazing and you could see ribs, bones, and the little heart and internal organs forming. 


After the exhibit we checked out other parts of the museum and they had a mini aquarium and a section with reptiles that was cool. They had an Anaconda and it was by far, the largest snake that I've ever seen in my life!

Here are some pictures from the museum:
Ready for the museum!

Kristen's daughter Grace

The Rattlesnake

Kristen and Grace

The babies

Little Gussy Walker :D

Me and Gus

Life-Size Giraffe (My favorite animal)

After the museum we headed back home and stopped in Burlington for lunch. We went to The Mellow Mushroom and it was soooooo delicious! 

Kristen and I talked about the whole feeding issue and she said that she was under the impression that the first year is supposed to be filled with food exploration and that the nutrition should be coming from the formula/breast milk and that the solid foods are just there to get the baby ready for full-time solid eating after the age of one. It made me feel so much better. She also said that she has had some setbacks with Grace and while she loves to eat, there are certain foods that she won't eat anymore.

I also got an amazing message from my cousin Jes (also Gus's godmother) and it completely made my day. She's so great and knew exactly what I needed to hear. 

So from comments on here (thanks Alison) and talking to my cousin and Kristen, they suggested maybe trying something besides pureed foods. Maybe Gus just isn't into the texture of purees anymore. I decided to give it a try tonight.

I was eating my delicious dinner of hobo pockets (lite kielbasa, potatoes and corn in a foil packet on 450 for 40 minutes) and I decided to give Gus some potatoes and see if he'd eat them. They were bite-sized pieces (not mashed) and I was a little hesitant to have him try, but he gobbled them up! I gave him bite after bite after bite and while it wasn't a huge amount, it was awesome!

I'll take that small victory!! :)

When we got home from the museum Gus and I played for a bit and I took some pictures of him. I just think he's the cutest thing (I am biased)! Here are some cute pictures to feast your eyes upon:

Tomorrow I go to get my eyes checked for the year... I'll probably get new lenses and maybe new frames. We'll see.

I'll post again tomorrow!!

Fix-it-Friday #83

 This week's FIF was HARD!! Here's the original:
Here's my edit:
I'm not too excited about my changes... but I did change his shirt color (LOL) and brightened the green in his shoes (shoes are important to me). I also made the background "pop" the best that I could. I don't know... it was a tough one!!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20

Day 20

I suppose a bad day was bound to happen since it's been a very long time since I can honestly say I had a bad day. Ugh! What a day!

This morning Gus slept until 9am and we had a play date at Judy's at 9:30. Needless to say, we didn't get to Judy's on time, but she was understanding and didn't mind too much. I had a nice time with her and kinda told her a bit about my frustrations with feeding Gus solids. She said not to sweat it and he'll eventually come around and eat when he's ready. She suggested a few things to try and I'm going to see what happens. She said not to let him feed on the bottle all day, since it's like snacking. She suggested establishing a feeding schedule and sticking to it. If he doesn't finish a bottle within 10 minutes, take it away and be done with it.

I'm going to see how it goes. I was at her place until 1:50 (holy smokes!) and then got home and tried to feed Gus. 


Maybe it's the timing of it... but it was horrible. He was refusing to eat, crying, pushing the spoon away (obviously telling me that he didn't want to eat). So I gave up and put him down for a nap.

I thought he'd sleep for a while since his morning/afternoon was completely thrown off. NOPE. He slept for like 20 minutes and was up and ready to play. I let him play for about 30 minutes and decided to try feeding him again... surely he'd be hungry by now.

D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R again! Grrrrr... again he refused, cried, and swatted the spoon. I gave it five minutes and decided to stop. 

Then we got to about 4:45 and I thought I'd try again. It was worse this time and I got frustrated and had to walk away. I started crying.

My friends that have babies that gobble up solids have NO IDEA how lucky they are. It's devastating and heart wrenching to constantly battle this. I feel like I'm doing something wrong and I don't know what. I try to make it pleasant... I have tried so many different things over the last three months thinking that I'd find the one thing to set off the feeding frenzy that I've seen so many others do. 

I gave it three tries today and all three ended up in failure and disaster. I put Gus in his play yard and went into the bathroom and lost it. I cried for so many reasons. I'm sure being mentally exhausted is just one of the reasons, but I just want him to be healthy and happy, and I feel like at eight months, he should enjoy his feedings. Not fight me about them. I don't want to make him hate feeding time, so I don't force him, but I don't want him to keep relying on the damn bottle either. 

So Steve came home to me crying. He was so good about comforting me and making me feel better. He played with Gus and pretty much was the provider with him all night. 

I guess one small victory is that he loves the sippy cup and has no problem using it. He actually gets excited to see it. Better to love it now than to be a year and a half and demand a bottle. I saw a kid on Supernanny that was THREE and demanded to use a bottle (ba-ba) instead of the sippy and the mom allowed this. The mom said, "We never tried the sippy until it was too late and she just prefers the bottle." Hopefully Gus will keep enjoying the sippy and won't have a hard time giving up the bottle.

So that was the day (in a nutshell). Then I get on blogger and have been trying all night to figure out these pages... I want to link past posts to particular pages so that you can click the link at the top and it'll direct you to posts specifically about that topic. I'm hitting a wall and that frustrates me. On top of it all, I am exhausted and every night I go to bed soooo tired and lay there for more than an hour unable to fall asleep.

I'd love to take a Tylenol PM or something of the like to help me fall asleep, but can't with Gus. I told Steve that I need to just get away. I want an overnight get away... even if it's one day. Just me and him to not have to stress or worry and sleep soundly. It's not going to happen, but that'd be the most perfect Valentine's Day gift. 

Anyway... tomorrow is the big trip to the Bodies Revealed exhibit in Greensboro and I can't wait. I pray that Gus does well in the car for that long (2 hours each way)... I've packed plenty of food (yes... even some solids-- I guess I have to keep trying) and diapers. If I run out, I'll find a grocery store I suppose. I'm interested in hearing if Kristen has any tips since Grace is four days younger than Gus.

I'd love to find someone who knows what I'm going through... not a bunch of people who have babies who love to eat. I don't want to hear about trying different foods (DONE THAT)... or spoons (TRIED THREE KINDS)... or anything that I have already done. No offense to anyone...

Here are my favorite things for infants!

So the swaddle on the left is a Summer Infant swaddleme blanket. We used this with Gus from the time that he was born until he was about five months. At that point, he was too big to wear it comfortably, so we moved to the Woombie brand swaddle cocoon (on the right). Gus has been in his from five months until now. We love the Woombie and they make them for babies up to 25 pounds!

 Of course for bathtime we use and love Burt's Bees. We use the bubble bath as well as the shampoo and body wash with Gus. In addition to these products, we love to give Gus a massage after his bath and use Burt's baby lotion for his body and then the Baby Bee Skin Cream for his face. It makes him so soft and smell absolutely delicious!

We moved Gus from his baby newborn bath and started using an inflatable tub with him and he LOVES it! It's the perfect size and works so much better than putting him in the big tub and worrying about him slipping. We bought the toy that you see (Yookidoo) and he loves it!

The Beaba is the coolest baby cook system. It was a gift from one of Steve's co-workers and is awesome. It cooks and purees the food and also reheats. I have a cookbook specifically for using the Beaba and it's wonderful and full of great recipes. The containers are from One Step Ahead and I use them to freeze and portion out the foods that I make in the Beaba.

The Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat is awesome! Not only was it cheaper ($25) but is portable and can go with us to restaurants or with us when we travel. It attaches to a regular seat and is very secure. We love it! Now... we also have a large high chair, but it's a little too big for Gus to use right now. We'll probably use it more once Gus is older.

We love our exersaucer! Gus likes to go in there and play and likes to chew on the various items that hang on it. He has the Evenflo Exersaucer Mega Circus and it was a gift from our neighbor Wendy (it belonged to her girls and she passed it on to us).

The next item is the Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker. We have two of them! One was from Wendy and the other we bought. We use them both. One stays downstairs where Gus can use it in the livingroom, and the other is in our bathroom. I put Gus in it when I take a shower and I know he's safe and it keeps him occupied with the hanging items that make music and noises. When Gus is a little bigger, we can take the bar off and he can just have a cute little chair!

The last item is his play yard. Now... my parents call it his "baby jail." He doesn't go in it all the time, but it's a safe place to put him when he plays and not worry about him getting hurt. He goes in and the dogs can't get him, if he falls while walking, he's protected by the soft carpet. It just makes me feel better that I can put him in there while making dinner, or after changing his diaper. We love it.

The Munchkin teether is on the left and we like it because we freeze it and then it has these nubbies on it that Gus likes to feel on his gums while teething.

Sophie the Teething Giraffe is the greatest thing that Gus has right now. He LOVES her and will sit and chew on her without any complaints. Sophie is about $16 and something that every parents of a teething baby would love.

That's it for today... I'll post more again soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19

Gus at our play date today 

Today was a great day! Gus slept from 8pm last night until 5am this morning and then went back to sleep until 9am! He was so pleasant this morning and very excited to go to our play date at Megan's house.

We had fun at Megan's and I took lots of pictures of Foster (Kristen's three-month-old baby boy) and Eloise (Megan's seven-month-old daughter) and then the three babies together. They are seated on the couch by age and we had a few seconds of opportunity before Gus decided that he wanted to play instead.
Gus and Eloise... he looks like he's saying, "Come on already..."

Eloise liked Gus's tie!

Gus, Eloise, and Foster

I used to work with both Megan and Kristen at Oak Grove. They taught third grade together and are closer friends than I am to either, but it was a good time. Kristen was in Phi Sigma Pi in college so she and I have that in common, which is very cool. This was Foster's very first play date!

After the play date the three of us took the kids to Chick-Fil-A and had lunch. Did you know that they now wait on you like in a restaurant? You can also go up and pay for your meal, but they will take your order, take payment, and bring it out to you. They also come by and ask to get you a refill. I LOVE it! <3
Then we said our goodbyes and Gus and I headed to Target. I made an optical appointment for this Saturday and then Gus and I did a little shopping. I wanted to find something cute for him for Valentine's Day... I found a Pebbles and Bam-Bam onesie that says, "Chicks Dig Me" and then another one that's red and has Linus from Peanuts and it says, "Love Stinks" I got them both and a pair of jeans and a cute Mom's VIP onesie. 

We came home and I put Gus down for a nap. It lasted a little over an hour (not too bad). Then we came downstairs and I attempted to feed Gus some veggies and whole wheat pasta and he wanted nothing to do with it.

While talking to Megan today, I realized that Gus isn't eating enough solids. I am going to try to get him on a better eating schedule tomorrow. I am envious of all my friends that have babies that love to eat. I don't know if it's because he's picky or what, but he doesn't go crazy for feedings like others do. At Chick-Fil-A, Megan was feeding Eloise and she was going nuts for each spoonful of food. Then when it was all gone she cried because she wanted more. I laughed because Gus is the one who tells me that he's done... (heavy sigh).

After dinner we watched a little tv while Gus was in his activity yard (a.k.a. baby jail) and I looked at him and this is what I saw:

Yes... the boy took his diaper off and was buck naked. He was sooooo happy to be naked and thought it was sooooo funny. :) I had to laugh and take a picture before putting a diaper on him (Steve was afraid of Gus peeing on the carpet).

Lastly... it was a beautiful day here in NC. The high went above 60 and I was in heaven. I can't wait until 60 degree days are more frequent and we can get out and do things outside!!
Tomorrow we're going to Judy's for a coffee date... not sure how Gus will do, but we'll see. I'm going to give her the DVDs that I made for my kids last year and she's going to pass them out before the kids track out on Friday. I'm eager for her to see the DVD. 

See you tomorrow!