Saturday, February 04, 2012

Silly Saturday

Slurping Noodles

This morning was great... I got to sleep in and then I had a donut for breakfast (lol). Then I headed off to my nail appointment and had a great hour and a half of "me time." I stopped at Jimmy Johns on the way home and picked up sandwiches for us for lunch.

I haven't had JJ in forever... like MONTHS. I didn't know that we had one so close to our home! I'm serious... we live within a few miles of EVERY and ANYTHING you could want or need. It's pretty amazing.

I got home and was shocked to see that Gus was up (it was 12:30 and I left at 11 for my nail appointment). I assumed that he was about to go down for his nap, but Steve said he had already gone down, and only slept for about 45 minutes. UGHT OH!!

Gus ended up going down for a second nap at like 3:45 and slept for just over an hour. When he got up, he was a bit cranky, hungry, and ready for dinner.

I let him help me in the kitchen and he had so much fun in the tot tower (THANK YOU AGAIN DAD (and Steve) FOR MAKING THIS!!!!)
Finger painting (with the bag from the other day)

Playing with his cars and running them over the paint

Playing with Mr. Burns (from the Simpsons)

Mr. Burns and two cars... a happy boy!

We sat down for dinner and Gus didn't want to touch the chicken (he's so picky sometimes). He had almost all of his carrots and then we had some noodles with dinner. He wasn't sure about the noodles... then I showed him how to "slurp" them and he tried. He was hooked!! He ended up eating a TON of noodles for dinner!
Eating noodles


Ah Ha! The first slurping... hee hee hee

Gus had so much at dinner! We were so proud of how well he ate! We listened to the Gus songs that I just bought for him (it's a CD of songs that put his name into the songs) and he loved listening to them. We sang "Five Little Monkeys" and he was doing the actions... then we had some ice cream for dessert!

Gus went down without a fight! Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I'm hoping the Giants win (I hate the Patriots). We'll be watching the game in the basement... not sure what we'll have for dinner... maybe I'll check on Pinterest and find us something yummy!


A Year of Gratitude #35

A Year of Gratitude #35: Reed Brown Safe and Sound

Reed and Shauna Brown

My very dear friend Shauna has been anxiously awaiting today's arrival for many many months. Today was the day her husband Reed came home from Afghanistan!! He's been deployed since August (and was only home for a short period of time then) and she's been waiting for him to return home.

I'm so thankful that not only did he make it home to her, but his entire company arrived as a complete unit, without any casualties. Her pictures were amazing and I had tears streaming down my face as I looked through them. I'm so glad that he's home and safe.

Gus's birth father's mother L, posted that her nephew was coming home today from Afghanistan... and I just learned that they were in the SAME company!!! What a small world!!! So I'm thankful that Gus's cousin (not sure exactly how it works out) Eddie also made it home safe and sound with Reed!!

A Year of Gratitude #34

A Year of Gratitude #34: Steve's Job at World 50

I am thankful that not only does Steve have an incredible job, that takes him to places he'd never get to go, and introduces him to people he'd never get to meet, but I'm most thankful that he LOVES his job.

Yesterday, Steve got to wear his Bengals jersey to work because they were having a Super Bowl party from 3-5 for all employees. He made it through the day and was able to enjoy the festivities that they have planned for everyone. They had pizza (literally, a huge table was filled with boxes and stacked three to four high. They had beer... and they had munchies. The Wii was on and people were playing "Just Dance" and they had the corn hole out and people were playing that.

He is so lucky to work for a company that really puts the happiness and satisfaction of the employees first. When they do a great job, they're rewarded. Steve is given praise and feedback constantly, and loves to hear that he's doing a great job.

He's so happy and I'm thankful that he's happy. There are zero regrets about moving here and taking this job opportunity. I have to say, I KNEW it'd be awesome for him. From the moment he told me about it, I knew it was something he'd be perfect for, and so far I've been 100% correct.

So while Steve's super happy with work, I'm praying that I continue to make friends and feel my way around the area. I want (so desperately) to feel like this is "home." So far, it's just surreal that we're here and it's where we live. Not sure how long that feeling will last... probably a few months or even a year. I need to get comfortable and establish myself here... and then hopefully I'll be thankful to call this place home.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thursday's Top Ten: 10 Destinations On My Bucket List

There are a lot of places that I'd like to visit before I die... here are my top ten:
  1. Ireland (I'd like to see where my mother's side of my family came from)
  2. Hawaii (I've always wanted to go and see a volcano)
  3. Australia (I want to go, but don't want the plane ride)
  4. South Africa (I want to go on a safari and touch the Indian Ocean... I'd love to be at the bottom of the continent)
  5. Los Angeles/Hollywood (I'd love to see where the stars live)
  6. Egypt (Just to see the pyramids and maybe ride a camel)
  7. Alaska (I'd like to step foot in the Arctic Circle)
  8. Fiji (I want to sleep in a hut over the water)
  9. Jamaica (I'd like to go to a Sandals resort in Jamaica)
  10. San Francisco (Never been but I'd love to go)

Open Adoption Roundtable #34

Open Adoption Roundtable #34-  How do you handle questions about your child's adoption details when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

What a question! I've found that I close off what I share with certain people. I don't just announce to everyone that I meet that Gus is adopted. It's got nothing to do with being ashamed or embarrassed about it, it's a matter of it not really being anyone's business.

It's super hard with joining mommy groups where 99% of the moms have biological children. Most assume that your child is also biological (especially since Gus is Caucasian and resembles me a bit). It's when they start asking questions about pregnancy, labor, or delivery, nursing, that kind of stuff that somehow I get put into the position of whether or not I share that he's adopted.

At first, I would just openly say it... but now I don't. I don't share with "just anyone" and have only told a few people that I'd consider to be friends.

When people ask me to share his story with them, they almost always ask why his birthmom "give him up." Those three words irk me more than anything. She didn't "give him up" or "give him away." I ALWAYS take the time to educate and share that there's appropriate adoption language and the proper phrase would be, "placed him for adoption." 

Since I don't really know the full ins and outs of her decision, I can't even begin to know the depth behind the decision to place him in our arms. I also don't think it's my place to share her story with anyone but our son.

I usually say that she and Gus's birth father knew that they couldn't give him the life that they wanted him to have, so they made the sacrifice to place him into our family. I try to be as honest and to the point as possible, without giving any additional information.

For the most part, I think people are just curious to hear about adoption. The media has done such a fine job of misrepresenting adoption and plants false info into the minds of the unaware. People think that even years after a child has been placed in a family, and the adoption has been finalized, that birth mothers can just walk back into the picture and take their baby back. Too many Lifetime movies... but people don't know any better and the assume that it's true.

Adoption isn't something to be ashamed of, or embarrassed about. The more open dialogue about it, the more the inaccuracies and false stories will be cleared up. The only way to share the positives is to openly talk about it with others... and sometimes you have to go into the uncomfortable places deep inside to do that. 

When someone is honestly, genuinely asking about Gus's adoption, I have no problem talking with them about it. It's the nosey, busy-bodies that I don't divulge information to.

I'd hope that our son's birth mother would be honest with others about our adoption. I'd hope she'd be proud to say that she's a birth mother and that she made her choice to place him out of love. 

A Year of Gratitude #33

A Year of Gratitude #33: A Baby for A Friend

So, I literally just checked a friend's blog and saw a post that brought tears of joy to my eyes! She and her husband have been on a waiting list for adoption for over fifteen months. I can't even begin to think about how agonizing it has been for them. Fifteen months of waiting... not including the years of trying to conceive on their own.

Fifteen months and having to go through fingerprinting twice because they were STILL waiting... and a home study twice because they were STILL waiting. 

They're on their way to PA to meet their brand new baby girl and she didn't give much more info than that. I'm eager to hear more about it, but I am so thankful that their wait is over.

God is so good and knew what He was doing... the wait was long for them, but the wait is over and they're now parents. How amazing is that???

So, I am most grateful and thankful that they're meeting their daughter and their family has been established. Parenthood is a life-altering thing, and something that I am so blessed to be apart of. I know my life changed when Gus entered the world, and hasn't been the same. I'm a better person because of him, and I am so thankful that my friend will be changed for the better as well!! She's now someone's mom... :-)

A GREAT Playdate!

This morning was wonderful!!! I was able to sleep in a bit AND get in the shower before Gus was up! I am feeling better and think I'm over my cold (yay)! Gus has a runny nose, but he seems to be on the upside of the cold as well. Steve, well, he's another story. He came home today at 2:00 because he wasn't feeling well.

We had a 10:00 playdate at Heather's (AAM) this morning. I was not nervous about it being like the bad playdate last week, mainly because I've met Heather and liked her a lot, and Meg (met her at the Zoo back in November) and Dina were also going. It was just the four of us moms and the kids and it was GREAT. 

Gus and Becca are both almost 21 months, Meg's daughter Charlee is 2, Heather's son Adam is 2.5, and Meg's son Carter is 3.5. So while the kids were not all the same age, they were all close enough to each other that they played really well together. Gus really enjoyed playing on Adam's train table.

Don't get me wrong, I love deal I got on the one that Gus has (it was $20 on Craig's List), but the new tables are SO NICE. Maybe I can buy the table top (not a whole new table)... the one we have is marked up and has stickers on it from the previous owner. We'll see... I don't know if you can buy just the table top and not the actual table.

We stayed at Heather's for about two hours and just had a really nice time. We got home and had lunch and then I put Gus down for his nap at 1:15. While he was napping (he's still napping), I got an email from my new friend Christie from MOMS Club and she invited Gus to her son Ryan's second birthday party! It'll be his first birthday party to attend!!! It's on the 11th at Gymboree... they'll have pizza and cake and I think Gus will have so much fun!! :-)

A week from today we'll be seeing Grace and Kristen and I can't wait! It's been two months since Gus last saw Grace and I'm eager to see how he reacts to seeing her again. I've missed Kristen too, so it'll be great to spend the whole day catching up with her and meeting her parents.

See you tomorrow!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Happy February!


What a day! Gus decided that his days of sleeping in and taking long naps are OVER. BOOOOOOO!!!

He was up and ready to go at 7:30 this morning. I could have slept for another hour (at least). We had a good morning and played with his blocks...
Playing with his slinky

Yes, he took his pants off

After playing all morning, he was finally ready to go down for a nap.

I put him down, let the dogs out, and then plugged my phone into my computer to charge. When I went to let the dogs back in... surprise, surprise... only one came inside (any guesses as to which came inside???). I called and called for (yes... you guessed it) Elphie, but she didn't come. I finally went outside to see what the deal was, and saw that the OTHER gate was cracked. GRRRRR

So she was gone... AGAIN.

I went to the front and called her for but there were no signs. I came inside and texted Steve to tell him that she was gone... and he immediately knew that it had to be the gate. He said he noticed it was cracked this morning, but didn't have time to close it.

I had a birthday card to mail to my niece for her 7th birthday on Friday, so I grabbed the card and headed outside to the mailbox. Just as I looked up from depositing my mail, I saw Elphie... at the neighbor's house. She was on her back getting her belly rubbed. 

I (totally embarrassed) told the guy that she was my dog and hiked up his driveway to get her. He was very nice and was very understanding. He said he saw her down the street... and she eventually made her way towards his house. He figured she was someone's dog from the neighborhood. I told him that we just moved from NC and her tags still say NC on them... he said he'd keep an eye out for her if she ever escaped again.

He looked at our front door and made a comment about Ned waiting for her (Ned was standing at the door looking out). I carried her back home and sent Steve a text that she was back home. She was tired for the rest of today.

Gus got up and we went to Kroger. He was hungry and was delighted when the deli lady offered him a piece of cheese.

We had a great rest of the afternoon and now I'm ready for bed. We have a playdate tomorrow (with AAM) and I'm hoping that this one is better than the last one. We'll see... it's from 10-12 and Dina will be there. I'm praying that we have a good time.

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

A Year of Gratitude #32

A Year of Gratitude #32: My Crock pot

Yesterday, I was looking around on Pinterest and found a recipe for three-ingredient crock pot chicken tacos. The picture looked so good and I decided that I'd try it today.

I went onto Pinterest while Gus was napping and saw that all I had to do was dump chicken (thawed breasts) into the crock pot, along with a jar of salsa (I only had 1/2 a jar so I used a can of Rotell tomatoes to go with it) and a packet of taco seasoning. I read through the comments on the recipe and others said they used cream of mushroom soup and one said they used cream cheese. I decided to try adding a can of cream of chicken soup. 

I put it all together, set it on high and let it work its magic. When Gus woke up, he and I went to Kroger to get lettuce and tomato for our tacos tonight.

My mouth was watering all afternoon, as the smell permeated the house. I only hoped that it would taste as good as it smelled.

Not only was it delicious, but it was so easy. I'm so thankful that I have a crock pot and I'm not afraid to use it!! What an amazing piece of kitchen gadgetry!!!

A Year of Gratitude #31

A Year of Gratitude #31: Attached Garage

This afternoon, I had to head to Kroger to pick up some last-minute items for dinner and just as I was starting to head down the driveway, it started to sprinkle. By the time I got to Kroger, it was raining.

Gus and I ran inside and it wasn't coming down too hard when we went inside. Well... coming out was an entirely different story. It was raining cats and dogs! As if running from the store to the car wasn't bad enough, I had to load Gus into his car seat, stand in the rain while I buckled him in, and then put the groceries into the car-- and ran the cart to the cart corral.

As I was getting into the car and finally out of the downpour, I sat back and had a moment of thankfulness. I remembered back in the day, when I lived in my first apartment on Timberidge Drive... and I'd have to park and run all the way around to the other side of the building (where I lived) to take things in from my car. It was a pain in the ass. 

When it'd snow... I'd have to trudge through the unshoveled snow to get to my car, and nine times out of ten, my door would be frozen shut (I do NOT miss Michigan winters). I'd have to trudge back to my apartment, get a large cup of hot water, and then trudge back to my car and pour the water on the door with the hopes that it'd unfreeze for me to open.

Worse than snow was the rain like today. So as I was driving home I became thankful that I can just pull into my garage and then just unload my groceries from the garage and not get wet.

It's the small things in life that can make the biggest difference. :-)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Dream Last Night

So it could be from the Nyquil stupor that I was in, but I had a very real dream last night. I dreampt that we became the parents to two twin girls. 

It wasn't outwardly said in my dream, but I think we adopted them. It was so real and crazy, when I woke up I was actually scared that I had twins to take care of PLUS Gustafer.

It'd be one thing to find out and have time to plan for (as much as possible) but I woke up so scared. LOL.  I don't know how my mom raised my brother at age 5 and then us (twins) at the same time. Talk about tough!!

It got me thinking though... I would love to parent twins, I think they're amazing. We'll see... maybe adoption #2 will be for twins!!

Trip to the Georgia Aquarium

I decided last night, that if I felt better today, that I'd take Gus to the Georgia Aquarium. My mom and dad gave us a family membership for Christmas and I've been eagerly awaiting the time to go. Today seemed like as good a day as any!

I have a cold and as a result, I was so exhausted yesterday. I took some Nyquil and went to bed at 8:30. I didn't wake up until 8:00 this morning and Gus was still asleep. He woke up at 8:30 and I went up and got him. We both were well-rested and in good moods (always a plus).

We decided to get on the road and head to the Aquarium (it was 9:30). It took me about 45 minutes going, because my GPS (Gary) gave me the strangest directions. He didn't take me the most direct route (maybe because of the time of day?), so we didn't get to the Aquarium until 10:40 (after parking and whatnot).

Gus absolutely loved it. He was in the stroller for the beginning and then there were things that I knew he couldn't see, so I let him out. I was so afraid that he'd run around and I wouldn't be able to catch him... but he was good. He stayed close to me and liked helping me push the stroller.  :-)  There were a few times that he wanted to go one way, and I wanted to go another... and as a result I had to chase him (not a pretty sight). Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun he had and how much fun I had.

There's a HUGE room with like a two-story tall glass viewing window... I sat there for a few minutes just marveling at the sights. My pictures don't do it justice... and then of course Gus was ready to move on, so I had to get up and stop enjoying the view. 

We went into the tunnel... and it's amazing. Gus was more interested in the moving sidewalk than the fish (lol). I was trying to take pictures and of course was reminded by another guest that his fingers could get caught in the sidewalk and that I should watch him (nice). Yep... mother of the year... right here.

Anyway, he was getting hungry so we went and had lunch. It was VERY expensive to have lunch... I got the cheapest item (a hotdog) and some fries for us to share. I packed him a BeetBox Berry (beets and strawberries mixed in a pouch) which he devoured. I contemplated on buying him a milk, but he had water and I was being cheap. He also had some fruit snacks and a bite of my hotdog. It wasn't the best lunch for either of us.

We saw the frog exhibit (Gus wasn't interested because he couldn't see the frogs-- you have to really look for them). He liked the info booth... so he spent most of his time looking at that while I looked at frogs.  :-)

I bought him a cute penguin from the gift shop. It's not something I'll do each visit, but for the first, I wanted to get him something special. He loves it... and it was 1/2 off with the purchase of anything else. So I got him a slinky... that he had been playing with (he grabbed one end and went running... literally through the aquarium and I had to keep pulling the Slinky to get him.. he was a good 50 feet away).

The parking had me nervous. It said $5 for the whole day for the aquarium and I was going to park in the "official" lot, but it was like $10-$20 for parking. I thought I'd see if the $5 parking structure was good. It was literally across the street from the aquarium and when we left... sure enough, it was $5. SCORE!

We had fun and got home just in time for him to CRASH. Coming home took me 35 minutes because Gary had me take 400 (which is how I was expecting to go). Gus has been napping since 1:30... (it's 4:11). He was trying to sleep in the car on the way home and I kept waking him so he wouldn't fall asleep. 

It's been a great day. Here are some of my favorite pictures from today:

Albino Alligator

Looking Up

Running through the Aquarium

GIANT Manna Ray

Trying to pet a fish  :-)

HUGE Whale Shark

The tunnel


Amazed... (so awesome)

The BIG viewing room

Having lunch

The GIANT starfish


Penguins (Gus was busy making friends with the kids on a field trip)

Jelly Fish

The Coral Reef room


In the zone (he was sleepy)

Big yawn

Getting some information

Looking up as a wave comes through (so awesome)

Mesmerized by the fish

The pink one was so pretty

Checking out the sea horses

The frog info station

A big frog  :-)
Ugly fish with teeth!

The entrance/exit

From the outside

Downtown Atlanta