Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newborn Photography Pictures

For those of you who've been curious, the pictures that I took of June are now up and ready to be viewed on my Cat Walker Photography blog! I'll post the links:

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A Year of Gratitude #55

A Year of Gratitude #55: Seeing Gus As A Big Brother

So yesterday, Michelle, Josh, Josh's sister Sandi, and baby June came over for a visit and photo-shoot. They arrived just minutes after I put Gus down for a nap, and it gave me a solid two hours to take pictures and visit without having to worry about Gus at the same time.

When Gus did wake, I went up to get him and told him that we had some guests in the livingroom. I don't know if he knew what I was telling him, but I felt it was important for him to not be surprised when we got downstairs. I told him that we were going to see a baby and he was instantly excited.

He was as excited to go see a baby as he is when I ask him if he wants to watch Chuggington. That's pretty damn excited.

So when we first got downstairs, he was a bit shy. He wouldn't come into the livingroom, but eventually I brought him in and he was mesmerized by June. He was so curious about her and wanted to talk to her and be near her.

It absolutely melted my heart. We're obviously hoping to adopt again and are planning on newborn adoption, so we'll hopefully someday have a baby to bring into our home. I was never sure how Gus would be with a baby. He's only been around Charlie and she was three months when he was near her. AND... he was so excited to be reunited with his cousin Lily (Charlie's older sister), that he didn't pay much attention to Charlie.

Gus was so tender, cautious, and careful around June. He wanted to talk to her, and was sort of whispering to her. He was so incredibly sweet with her. He shared his stuffed frog with her.

Here are a few pictures of Gus with June:
Checking June out

So curious

"Let's see..."

Sharing his frog with her

"Do you like my frog?"

He also shared his spatula with her :-)

So amazed by her

Helping Josh buckle her into her car seat 

Gus wanted to help Josh carry the car seat

Standing guard over June before she left...

While we're not ready just yet, I'm so grateful to know that Gus will make an extraordinary big brother. Until it's time, we'll keep savoring the time as a family of three and really loving the one-on-one attention that Gus gets. I think as much as he'll love being a big brother, he'll miss the attention. 

I'm thankful to have been given a chance to see Gus interact with a newborn. And while I'm not surprised (he's got the softest heart), it's nice to know that he at least LIKED her. He could have been jealous and nasty... so I'm thankful that he was his typical, loving, sweet, tender little self.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #54

A Year of Gratitude #54: Warm Day During Winter

Now that we're living in the South, it's hard to remember what a truly cold day feels like. People around here complain when it's 40s-50s and yet, I think that's warm for winter. So imagine our surprise to see it in the 70s here today!

I don't know if there's anything better than a warm day in the middle of the winter. Maybe a cool day in the middle of a hot summer...

After Gus's nap and a snack, he and I headed outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun. He played on the swing for a bit and then jumped on the trampoline for a while. I put him on the slide, but there was a big puddle of water at the bottom, so I only let him slide 1/2 way down before grabbing him. He went back on the trampoline, back on the swing and then we went inside.

He did NOT want to go back inside

Enjoying an ice pop to cool off

I'm thankful for so many things in my life. I'm thankful for warm temperatures and warm moments like the one below. It was taken tonight while Gus and Steve were playing farm together. <3

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Bitchy Post (WARNING)

I just need to vent and this is where I do it. It's my blog, my place to write my thoughts and feelings, and I'm kind enough to allow others to read my words.  :-)  (Do you like that spin??)

I thought it'd get easier to deal with infertility as I got older. You know, passing 35, where it now becomes "risky" to carry a baby. Assuming I was 100% healthy, it's still risky after age 35, so any extra pounds only add to the risk.

Enough about that... I just thought it'd get easier to "deal" with things. I have my moments where I'm content. But then I see Facebook posts and start reading about everyone and their brother announcing their pregnancies and it's like a viscous cycle starts over again.

I love Gus. I know that had I been able to get pregnant, he would not be in my life. I know God works things as planned in His divine wisdom, but it still hurts.

The fact that friends that were in the "we can't get pregnant" camp with me years ago... have had not just one baby, but numerous friends are on their second and third child. So much for that "can't get pregnant" BS.

So when does it stop hurting? When will I hear of someone announcing a pregnancy and not have the immediate reaction of bitterness and sadness? Why can't I be happy for others instead of sad at what I don't have?

And to make it all even weirder... I don't even know if I'd ever WANT to be pregnant. I have never had the desire to deliver a baby (I've always had a fear that I'd die during childbirth)... no desire to breastfeed, and no desire to be completely uncomfortable for multiple months straight. No desire to be poked with needles for blood work, or do the Glucose test and all that stuff. There are two things about pregnancy that I am extremely jealous of... and I suppose are the root to my deep feelings of sadness and that's 1) knowing what it feels like to have a baby inside me and 2) having a child that shares its genetics with me and Steve. I'd love to see what we would make together.

So why does it still bother me so much? Why do I still cry when I think about never having a biological child? Maybe it's because I'm whacked in the head. I don't know. I feel like I've been grieving this loss of fertility for YEARS and it's not going away. 

Seriously, when I hear of someone announcing that they're pregnant, I become so instantly judgmental. As if they don't have the right to be pregnant because I can't get pregnant. How absurd is that?!?

I don't know... I feel like I'm the only one out there who feels like this. And yet, to make it even harder, I feel even worse having these feelings while being Gus's mom. Am I entitled to still grieve even though my prayers of a child were answered? How seriously messed up is that??? 

I pray for peace and for God to seriously take the pain away. I'm done with it, done crying, and want to just let it all go. Having a baby just isn't in the cards for me... I mean there are worst things that could happen to me. Right? I mean all my life, my biggest fear has been not being able to be a mom. While adoption has allowed me to side-step that one, it's still like the biggest fear coming true.

And to think of possibly starting the adoption process again... I don't know. As much as I DO want another child, I don't know if I'm ready for the pain and stress that comes with adoption. 

If you've never adopted a child... it's not easy. Some things that we had to go through to adopt Gus include:
  • Criminal Record check
  • Fingerprinting with the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation)
  • Health Screening (height/weight/overall health/blood pressure)
  • Answering questions about our faith, including when we came to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, how we'd define our relationship with God, and how we plan on raising our child in our religious faith
  • Answering questions about our childhood, our parents, our siblings, our friends, our jobs, our divorces, our struggles with infertility, and other personal questions that are so gut-wrenching hard to answer
  •  Classes on adoption (we had to take four)
  • Weekend retreats about adoption
  • Answering questions about what we would accept as a child (so absolutely difficult to answer-- there are so many "what ifs" that you can't include in your answers)
  • Answering personal questions about our finances and how we'll be able to afford a baby
  • Answering questions about how much EXTRA money we'd be willing to pay to support a birth mother... knowing that if we said X amount and she wanted/needed X+1 we were excluded from her ever seeing our profile
  • Creating a profile book to "sell" ourselves as parents and the stress of picking just the right pictures and saying just the right words
  • Writing a "Dear Expectant Mother/Family" letter and agonizing over the wording, and rewriting countless times because it didn't have the right "feel" that we wanted
  • The fear of being matched and having it fall through
  • Being there for a baby being born and fearing that the mother would choose to parent days/weeks after temporary placement
It's a lot to take in. I don't know if I'm ready... financially we are NOT ready, but emotionally, I'm not sure either. We now have a sweet angel baby to consider in the process as well... before if we got hurt, it was just us. Now, if something goes wrong, Gus is included in the hurt and disappointment and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that.

So I don't know... maybe I just needed to bitch and complain and it'll be better tomorrow. I'm hoping so anyway.


A Year of Gratitude #53

A Year of Gratitude #53: Long Naps

I was going to take Gus to mass this morning for ashes... I'm glad I didn't. My friend Kathryn went with her two-year-old daughter, and not only was it packed, but there were a bunch of people without kids in the cry room.She said she was so focused on keeping her daughter quiet, that she missed most of mass.

Kathryn and Aubree (her daughter) met us at Catch Air this morning for some fun. Gus played hard from 10-12 and when it was time to leave, he was a tired little boy.

We had lunch and then I put him down for his nap and prayed that he'd take a decent nap. With the long weekend, he hadn't taken a decent nap since last Thursday. 

Today he slept for over three hours and it was wonderful. He woke up in a great mood and it was just what we needed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Year of Gratitude #52

A Year of Gratitude #52: Cleaning Crew

Sometimes you have to face the cold, hard facts. It's not always pleasant to realize your faults, but when you do, it's important to share your findings with the person who matters the most. In my case, this person is Steve.

I've never been a "cleaner." In fact, while I'm super organized in certain aspects of my life (my pantry/cupboards/classroom/basement toy organization), I am a slob in others. I wasn't raised by parents who demanded that I keep things spotless. Sure, I had to have a picked up room... and I had chores, but my parents were not neat-freaks and didn't instill in me a need to be super tidy and meticulously clean.

I've got no problems with this.  :-)   My husband however... was raised by a mother who was a bit of a neat-freak. He has her need to keep things spot-less and what I consider to be heavy cleaning on my part, Steve considers to be merely picking things up.

He scrubs the counters with scolding hot soapy water after every meal... I'm good if I wipe up with a paper towel.

Steve moves things around to vacuum and dust... I go around what's there. It's not like anyone is going to lift stuff up anyway right?? 

The battle of our views on cleaning caused so many disagreements, hurt feelings, and bitterness. We'd let the house go so far and then have to bust our asses to get it cleaned up. He'd become resentful of me for not doing more work, and I just wanted to sit and watch tv instead of being barked at by him. It wasn't pretty.

While Steve was working at Burt's Bees, he had shared our mutual frustrations with each other about our difference of opinion on cleanliness to his co-worker Christy. She told him that she and her husband had the same issue... and their resolution was to get a cleaning lady.

Well... Steve told me about this and we decided to have Christy's cleaning lady (it was actually a few people) come and clean the house. It was awesome.

Then I found Suzanne... she was recommended to me by one of my MOMS Club friends in NC. We were talking about cleaning and I said we had cleaners... when my friend said Suzanne cleaned her house every other week for $50 I was AMAZED at the price. I emailed Suzanne and ditched our cleaners for Suzanne's services. We had Suzanne clean our house for almost a year. She was WONDERFUL and grew to be a friend.

When we moved to Georgia, I wasn't sure where to even start with finding someone to clean for us. Being in Johns Creek, there's a lot of cleaning people around, but they charge an arm and a leg. We're paying the same for our crew that we paid the cleaning group that Christy referred us to back in NC.

Our cleaning crew is made up of Graciela, her husband and two sons (they're in their 20s). Graciela was referred to me from a mom on Atlanta Area Mommies. They do an incredible job and clean from top to bottom. It's a thorough scrubbing and gets us through two weeks without any problems. 

Not only is it nice to have other people clean for me (I LOATHE CLEANING), but it's nice that Steve and I don't fight about cleaning, we don't break our backs trying to clean on the weekend, when we SHOULD be enjoying our time together, and we're guaranteed that our house is getting the proper interior maintenance. I like knowing that at any given moment, someone could come over and I wouldn't be embarrassed of the appearance of my house. 

Anyway, I'm thankful that Steve and I are able to afford someone to clean our home, and we have a schedule in place so that we don't have to waste any time disagreeing on what's considered clean or not.

The investment has helped our marriage and I'm thankful that it's one less thing to worry about.

A Year of Gratitude #51

A Year of Gratitude #51: Holidays that Fall on a Monday

Steve was off yesterday and it was such a treat. While he's now screwed up thinking that it's Monday, and it's really Tuesday, the great thing is that tomorrow is Wednesday and the week is 1/2 over already.

A Year of Gratitude #50

A Year of Gratitude #50: Sour Patch Kids and Homestyle Pop Secret Popcorn

Yes, I know this probably seems like a silly thing to be thankful for, but I'm the one writing here. I love them together... a SPK and a handful of popcorn... the flavors mesh so well together and bring a smile to my face.

If you've never tried them together, you must. Pop Secret Homestyle is the greatest popcorn on the planet. It's the perfect blend of salty and buttery. Another thing to try if you like popcorn and haven't ever tried it.