Monday, January 30, 2012

OH Happy Day!

Today started out as a pretty normal day.  Nothing special.  Got up, fed a baby, went to work, came home.  You know, the normal everyday stuff.  I had to work a little later again tonight (only 30 min), but ended up getting home a little after 6:30.  I came in and started some rice to go with our crock pot meal.  Then Kevin said "Oh, do you know what this is?" and held up an unopened manila envelope.  I could tell by his voice what he thought it was.  So I opened it up, and there it was!  Two sheets of the best paper ever!

Do you see those three special words near the top of the paper?  No, it's not "I love you".  Here's a closer look....

That's right, folks.  We got Kate's finalized adoption papers.  She is officially OURS.  Of course, she's been "ours" all along, but now we'll get her re-issued birth certificate and she can be assigned a social security number.  The exact legal terms of the document state that "the said minor is declared adopted for life".  Yep, Kate is ours and we're her parents.  She's stuck with us now!

And then we celebrated with a 7pm bottle. :)

In other news, Kate got a new ride.  I ordered it off of because it was $70 cheaper and qualified for free shipping.  It came in today, and she took it for a test drive around our living room.  She's sitting up so much better and rapidly growing out of her infant carrier so it won't be too long before we switch out her car seat for this new roomier one (still rear facing).  We're going to use the infant carrier for a BIT longer but she seems to like her new seat.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Catch-Up

Hello! It's been a few days, but we haven't done anything wild and crazy over in our household.  Just the normal every day stuff with a 5.5 month old!

Saturday morning, I had to go in to work for a few hours.  I decided to get up early and get to the office by 8:30ish so I could leave by lunchtime.  My mom decided that she hadn't had enough Kate-time lately, so she met me over near the mall around 11ish.  We ran a few errands and then went back to my house to get Kevin and Kate.  Then we headed over to Bertolo's for lunch.   Yumm.

We came back to the house and I made up a batch of butternut squash for Kate.  This was her second solid food, and she loved it.  And I really mean LOVED.  The color/texture wasn't too much different than the sweet potatoes, but she seemed to enjoy it much more.   She liked it so much she was literally grabbing my hands and shoving the spoon in her mouth as fast as she could.

We went to church on Sunday morning and then Kate and I went to Target while Kevin stayed for a meeting.  Since she's sitting up so well now, I decided to put Kate in the shopping cart instead of putting her whole carrier in the buggy.  She loved it at first, looking around and being able to see all that was going on.  Then she got pretty tired though and by the end of the trip, she looked like this...

Yes, it was definitely nap time when we got home.  Once Kate woke up, we decided to take her on a walk.  It was SO nice outside (or so we thought).  Here she is right before we started out.

And then we realized that it was pretty windy so we bundled her up a little more. 

And by the end of the trip she looked like this....

Are you noticing a trend here?  Apparently movement = nap for Kate!  So, we got home and I put her back in her crib for the rest of her nap.  

And then we just spent some time relaxing at home, while Kate tried to eat her feet.  Typical Sunday afternoon/night.  And that's our weekend in a nutshell!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last Home Visit

Last week, Kevin and I had our LAST home visit with Bethany.  Even though all of our paperwork has been sent off to NC sometime in December, and we're just waiting on everything to get processed so the adoption is finalized, Bethany likes to follow up with their adoptive families for 6 months after placement.  So, last week we had our last follow-up visit with our Bethany adoption worker.

When Jane* (our adoption worker) emailed me earlier this month, we originally scheduled the visit for Monday January 16th at 3:30.  So I went ahead and put the appointment on my calendar at work and thought that was that.  Not too long later, Jane emailed me back and asked if we could reschedule to Tuesday January 17th since that was MLK day and her office was actually closed for the holiday.  Us accountants don't get MLK day off as a holiday but it didn't matter to us if the appointment was Monday or Tuesday, so I said that it wasn't a problem to change the date.

Well- I forgot to change it on my calendar. Oops!  So last Monday I left work at 3pm and rushed home to meet Kevin and Kate.  Around 3:35, I knew something was up.  Jane is usually a few minutes early, and never late.  Then it hit me.  Our home visit wasn't supposed to be until the next day.  Oops again!

I told Kevin that he could go back to work.  Since I was already home with Kate, I took her to run some errands.  We went by my work so I could get my laptop, and I think just about everybody I work with got to hold her.  Then we went by Buy Buy Baby to get her a new car seat.  That's a post for another day, but basically she is already growing out of her infant carrier at just 5.5 months old.  And then, we headed home.

The NEXT day, I again rushed home at 3pm to meet Kevin and Kate.  This time Jane showed up right on time.  We had a GREAT meeting.  Basically, she just wanted to know how involved we wanted Bethany to be from this point forward.  We don't have any further commitment to Bethany, so if we wanted to be through with them, we could.  If we had a closed adoption, this would probably be the case.  But since we have an open adoption, Bethany is always there to be a facilitator of visits with Kate's birth parents- if we want them to.  So far, we have had 2 visits with Kate's birth parents, and we have used Bethany to coordinate the meetings although we have chosen to meet with them at restaurants and the mall.  It has worked well so far and our plan is to continue using Bethany as an intermediary until we build a further relationship with Kate's birth parents.  If at any point we decide that we don't need to use Bethany as a go-between or coordinator, we would just start scheduling our visits on our own.  Basically, Bethany's involvement from this point forward is totally up to us.

Jane stayed for about an hour, and then we were officially finished with everything!  The ironic thing is that we had our last visit with our adoption worker on January 17, 2012.  We STARTED this whole adoption with our first informational meeting on January 11, 2011.  I'm still amazed (and grateful) at how fast everything happened.  God is so good!

On a totally different note, Kate figured out how to push the buttons on her activity/bouncy station and was shocked that they would light up and play music.  It's so fun to watch her do and learn new things!

And these were taken tonight before bedtime.  Kevin was showing Kate what leg extensions and leg curls were.  I'm not really surprised.  I have a feeling that I'll be teaching her the A-B-C's and he'll be teaching her all of the major muscle groups. 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sittin' Pretty

This is probably a pretty boring blog post to most of you, but it's just another one of those things that I want to be able to remember 5 years from now.

In the past few weeks, Kate has gotten a lot better at sitting.   She's can ALMOST sit up by herself on the floor without even putting her hands on the ground.  I actually think that she CAN do it, I'm just too paranoid about her falling over and hitting her head to leave her by herself.  Now that she CAN sit up, that's all she wants to do.  She can't stand laying back against something.  If she's sitting in your lap, she'll lean forward just enough so she's not leaning against you.  She wants to do it all by herself. Unless she's drinking her bottle, she doesn't want to lean back and relax. She wants to sit up!

We used to be able to use her bouncy seat without strapping her in.  Then she became pretty squirmy so we'd strap one side.  Now we have to strap BOTH sides.  She pulls herself up into a sitting position so if we didn't strap her in, she would most likely faceplant onto the floor.  That would NOT be good.  So, we use both straps.  

I walked into the living room a while back to see her sitting like this, and she probably sat like this for a good 10-15 minutes, very content. 

Here are a couple of other pictures of Kate practicing her new skill.  Oh how I love my little girl!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daddy/Daughter Similarities- By Kevin

When I started this blog, I really thought that both Kevin and me would be posting updates on our adoption.  Well, that didn't happen.  This turned into MY blog, and that's okay!  However, Kevin DID write this up a few days ago about the things that he and Kate (5.5 months) already have in common and I thought I'd share.  So, here it is...

Even though Kate isn’t our biological child, I’ve noticed some things we have in common. As time goes on, she’ll obviously learn to do many things like Kelley and me, and she'll like many of the things we like. But, she already has similarities that aren’t conditioned, but natural. Yes, these are just chance things, and lots of people have these same similarities, but, I like to play them up because she’s our daughter. She’s already just like me in a variety of ways. Here are a few:

1. Terrible bed hair. When I was little, my dad told me all the time, “Your hair looks like a rat’s nest.” I didn’t know what a rat’s nest looked like, but looking in the mirror, I knew that it didn’t mean “neat.” Even now, as I lose my hair, what I have still gets terribly messed up in my sleep unless I keep it cut very short. Kate is following in my footsteps. She had a lot of hair when she was born. Everyone told us she’d lose it, but she didn’t. It doesn’t get as messed up now that it’s getting longer, but she’s not out of the woods yet.

2. Stomach sleeping. Maybe Kate got sick of sleeping on her back for the first 4 months of her life, but as soon as she got strong enough to roll to her stomach, she started doing it. Constantly. She wakes up on her stomach now just about every nap. She can’t roll back to her back from her stomach, yet, and that really frustrates her. I’ve been a stomach sleeper all my life, and I don’t do it on purpose. When I was a kid I often woke up on my stomach, sleeping on my arms, which were wrapped underneath my pillow – and I’d have a “crick” in my neck, a muscle spasm from awkward sleeping. Sometimes these “cricks” would last for several days, so I tried never to sleep on my stomach. Nevertheless, that’s how I woke up most mornings. Now as an adult, stomach sleeping doesn’t give me “cricks” in the neck, but a sore lower back. I got really good at sleeping on my back and STAYING on my back in my adult years, but after marrying Kelley, she discovered that I snore much worse on my back. And I started getting pushed, kicked, or whatever it took to make me roll over. So now, because Kelley can’t deal with snoring, I re-formed my bad habit of stomach sleeping and often deal with a sore lower back. In fact, we’re buying a brand new king mattress this week to replace our 4-year old mattress. The “old” mattress is structurally sound – we had it inspected – but the top layer of cushioning has my body impression in it, which is about a 1.5 inch “hole.” So stomach sleeping makes my back cave in and therefore, makes me really sore.

Now why we need a king mattress is a story for another day. Kelley is 5’1” and not even 100lbs. There’s enough room in our bed for 2-3 more people. But she has to have her space. I’m not complaining. I need mine, too. I slept by myself from age six to age 34. Space is good.

3. In junior high, we got to go outside for lunch or after we finished our lunch. I recognized that every day when I walked outside on a sunny day, I sneezed 2-3 times. I still do that. And Kate does the same thing. That’s probably pretty common. But it makes me feel good when we both sneeze after walking out into the sun.

4. I had laser eye surgery when I was 27. From that day forward, I’ve worn sunglasses just about every day – even on cloudy days. The surgery decreased my ability to handle sun or glare. Kelley picks on me for buying sunglasses. I like sport sunglasses (wraparound type), but sometimes they just don’t fit the occasion. So I but a few new pair every year. It looks like we’re going to have to start buying them for Kate, too. She can’t stand the sun shining in her eyes – at all. She flips her head around trying to get away from it, and she can turn her head almost backwards.

5. Cold hands and feet. Kate’s hands and feet are naturally cold. Kelley says it’s because I keep the house at 69 in the winter, but she had cold hands and feet in the summer when the house was 72. My hands are cold no matter what. Every week at church our praise band and pastors meet to go over the worship order and pray. We hold hands, and unfortunately, somebody has to hold mine. I’ve heard this at least a billion times: “Cold hands, warm heart.” Maybe my cold hands and feet are another reason Kelley insisted on a king bed.

6. Impatience. Apparently, I’m not a patient person. At least, that’s what I’m told. Regularly. It’s one of my major character flaws. I don’t pray for patience, though. God is working on me in enough ways! Kate has ZERO patience. It mainly centers around her bottle. And her pacifier. And the new solids she’s been getting. If the spoon isn’t coming fast/often enough, she wraps her hands around it and yanks it towards her mouth. Hopefully her patience problem will be limited to food.

7. Sports on TV. Kate loves watching sports on TV, even GOLF. I get the sports thing: there’s lots of fast action. But golf? She’ll even watch someone line up a putt. She watches SportsCenter, PTI, Around the Horn – and all of those shows have guys in suits talking. And it’s not just because that’s what I like. We’ve tested this by changing channels. She prefers sports over kid shows and cartoons. God knew what He was doing when He gave us Kate.

I discovered one thing yesterday that Kate DOESN’T have in common with me: she has stinky feet. She doesn’t even walk yet, so what’s the deal? I got cheated in lots of areas physically, but one thing I GOTwas NON-STINKY FEET. Maybe it’s just because I learned not to wear shoes without socks, but I can wear a pair of Nikes for 3 years and they just never stink, and neither do my feet. I brag about it. You have to celebrate the little victories. Kate will just have to struggle through life, I guess.   

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato...

Yesterday, Kate had her FIRST taste of real baby food.  She got a Baby Bullet for Christmas and I broke it out yesterday afternoon to puree a batch of sweet potatoes for her first meal.  This was my first experience with actually making baby food and it wasn't as hard or messy as I expected.  Basically I just cut up 2 medium sweet potatoes, boiled them until soft, and then put them in the Baby Bullet.  It ended up making about 12 2-oz servings.  We have to use them within a few days, or can freeze them for up to a month.  So far, I'm loving the Baby Bullet!

Kate's expressions and face was just so funny when we gave her the first few bites.  You could literally see her thinking "What in the WORLD is this?" and she was trying to decide if she liked it or not.  I guess she decided that she DID like it because she ate the entire 2-ounce serving.  

We'll stick with sweet potatoes for a few more days before trying another new food.  Can't wait to see how she likes the next thing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ahhh- It's The Weekend

Yes, it's Saturday.  My last Saturday.

For those who don't know me personally, I'm a CPA with a super-regional accounting firm here in the south east.  More specifically I'm a tax accountant, which means my already pretty busy life is about to get a LOT busier.  Starting next weekend until after the April 17th tax-day deadline, I'll be spending my Saturdays at work.  This busy season will definitely be an interesting one for me since it will be the first as a wife AND a mommy.  I typically work 60-65ish hours a week (and more closer to the deadline) and I'm still trying to determine how it's all going to work out.  My PLAN is to get to work a lot earlier than normal, work through lunch, and leave not TOO much later than my normal time.  Then of course I'll be working on Saturdays.  This should be interesting....

But, since this is my last non-working Saturday for a while, I told Kevin that I would be sleeping in.  So he was on Kate-duty all by himself this morning.  Of course she's a breeze whenever that happens.  He fed her this morning around 7 (which is her typical morning bottle time) and then she went back to sleep until 11!!  So, I got to "sleep in" until about 8:30.  I guess my body is so used to getting up at 6:30 that it didn't want to sleep any longer than that.

We spent the first part of the day at home, and Kate had some fun in her activity/bouncy thingy. I have no idea what this thing is actually called.

Kate's still not quite tall enough for her feet to reach the bottom of this thing, so we had to make do.  We "cheated" with a few stacks of printer paper.  Worked like a charm.

And then we headed out to lunch.  One of our sweet friend's from church gave us a gift card to Applebee's for Christmas, so that's where we went.  Can you guess which plate is Kevin's?

He ordered the Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp and I ordered the Appetizer Sampler.  So good!  Spinach and Artichoke dip, boneless BBQ wings, Quesadillas, and cheese sticks.  So healthy, huh? Don't worry.  I shared with Kevin.

And now we're home and Saturday is only halfway over.  I'm off to make some home made baby food for Kate.  Stay tuned tomorrow to see how that goes.  This will be her first taste of something with a little more flavor than the rice cereal and oatmeal that she's had so far.  Hope you all have a FANTASTIC Saturday.

**Note- To any of you joining me from Kelly's Korner looking for adoption fundraising ideas, scroll to the next post or click on the "Adoption Puzzle" tab above!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Puzzle Is Finished!

Back in June, we started an adoption puzzle fundraiser after having many family and friends asking how they could help with our adoption.  One BIG obstacle with adoption can be finances.  So, we purchased a 300 piece puzzle and asked that each piece be sponsored for $5 per piece.  On each puzzle piece, we'd write the name of the person who sponsored the piece.  After it was completed, the plan was to frame the puzzle and hang it in our future son or daughter's room.  Remember, we started this puzzle fundraiser before we even knew about Kate!

We have been overwhelmed at the amount of support from family, friends, and even people that we didn't know!  We weren't sure how this would go and really just hoped that one day we'd be able to finish the puzzle.  Well, it was finished a few months ago and we finally got it framed and hung in Kate's room!! 

And, because I never posted any pictures of Kate's finished nursery, here are a couple more...

And the cutie who the adoption puzzle fundraiser was for...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trying To Be Like Daddy

Kate already knows what to do with a computer, or at least she thinks she does.  She LOVES any kind of screen (TV, computer, phone, etc).  We try not to let her have too much screen time because we'd rather her be entertained with people, toys, or anything action related, but she's still fascinated by screens.  Can't you tell that she thinks she's typing?  It was soo funny.  If you watch her little fingers closely, you can see that they're even scratching/typing.

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