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Friday, April 30, 2010

365 Days Later, Part Three - Today was the Day!

Do you remember THIS news? Today was the day last year when we got THE CALL, as we were sitting at dinner with most of my family, as well as my sister's future in-laws. That day was shocking, surreal, joyful, unbelievable, scary, overwhelming, exciting, everything all rolled into one.

I will never forget how I felt when that call finally came. My hands were shaking and the room was spinning. I'll never forget the shouts of joy as I put the phone to the side and looked at my family (who had, by that time, figured out that something was happening and were staring intently at my end of the table.) I said, "We have a baby boy!" and all I remember is an eruption of excitement as my older sister, Nan literally landed in my lap from her place across the table from me. People seemed to be right up in my face, asking a million questions, though I know that was just my perception because I was overwhelmed.

I was so happy for my little sister, Holly. That was the night of her pinning ceremony for graduating from nursing school. That had been a long road for her too so our family was in full celebration mode. It was hard for me to concentrate on anything but the baby I was about to meet but I did the best I could trying to remain present.

Actually I sobbed off and on through most of the ceremony. People around me kept looking but for once in my life, I just let the tears flow, unchecked, down my cheeks. They started when my older sister gave me the "Mother's Blessing" ring she had been carrying in her purse for...years, while she waited for our baby. I was doing okay up until she slipped that into my hand. I walked out to the lobby and she followed. She hugged me and I just sobbed on her shoulder for several minutes.

Come to think of it, I cried pretty regularly (A LOT) for about the first month of Charlie's life. Thinking of that now, I'm pretty sure those tears were important. They helped me officially close that chapter of loss and grief in my life and move on...opening my heart to the blessings of motherhood.

Wow. That's all I can really say. My eyes fill with tears again now thinking back to that day, when our whole lives changed forever. When we found out about a precious, tiny baby boy who would become our son and who has since filled our home and our hearts with more love than can really be measured.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

52 Weeks

When you say it like that, a whole year doesn't sound all that significant. Weeks go by at the speed of light these days so it's easy to see how 52 of them can pile up, one on top of the other, creating a whole year.

Throughout this past year, I've been recording Charlie's growth each week. To show how he's changed, I've photographed him with his first teddy bear once a week for the past 52 weeks. This bear is a huge, blue creature that my dad bought for us on the day we brought the baby home. This is a gift that has particular significance in our family because my dad also bought one for my nephew, Nick when he was born, 16+ years prior to Charlie.

When we got home from the hospital last year and I finally got to see the beautiful nursery my family had decorated for our new baby, the sight of this big, blue bear is what brought me to tears. I couldn't believe my dad had been able to find the exact same bear for Charlie that he bought for Nick so many years ago. Needless to say, this stuffed animal is a keeper for us. As you can see below, it's doubled as a great prop/size comparison for our regular photo shoots over the past 52 weeks.

(click on the image to enlarge)

A 12 x 18 version of this collage is something I've been working on a lot this year, particularly lately. Now that I'm finally done, it will serve as a decoration for Charlie's birthday party this weekend. I love to look at how much our son has changed in only 52 weeks but I have to say that it makes me a little sad to be done with this huge project.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Big Day for Our Big Boy!

I'm definitely in post-overload right now but I don't want to forget one single moment of these days! Even now, having a one-year-old, I find that I am surprised when I look at photos and videos from this last year. How tiny Charlie was...how could I have forgotten? But I have. Days have gone by and times have changed. I've gotten caught up in the todays and forget what all the yesterdays were like, not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Much like his entry into our lives though, I want to capture every single moment of Charlie's first birthday so that I never, ever forget how sweet these times truly are.

We had a great day today. We both had the day off and spent it happily enjoying time with our son. His actual birthday party with family and friends is yet to come, this Saturday but today we had lots of fun practicing for the big event. This morning had us opening up and breaking in a couple of new toys, which included a square foot garden kit for Mommy that will certainly appear in future blog entries! After that we went to lunch, where Charlie got a balloon and his first-ever restaurant birthday serenade, along with dessert that was bigger than he was. Next it was off to our favorite Scottish bakery about half and hour away, where we picked up some treats that we save for special occasions. To finish off the afternoon, we took a trip to the park where Charlie enjoyed some time on the slide and swing. Finally, we went over to my parent's house where we had dinner and sang "Happy Birthday" to Charlie as we (well, the wind) helped him blow out his candle. It was a lovely day and without further ado, here is a photographic synopsis of our celebrations:

Early morning snuggles with Daddy, on the deck.


Showing off his snazzy socks and birthday shirt.

Dessert that's bigger than you are, nice...

...and delicious!
Special time with Mommy...

...and Daddy!
Checking out his cool blue balloon...

...and of course, showing it off!

Daddy, helping Charlie practice his new walking skills.

Sliding and smiling!

Swinging in the sunshine!

Yes that's a pickle he's sharing with Daddy, yum!

Mama and Baby.

Brown eyes and birthday cake

What a beautiful mess!


365 Days Later, Part Two

So where was I on this day in history, the day our child was born? To be honest, I wasn't having a very good day. In fact, I was pretty much hitting the rock bottom of our wait. Those of you who were there probably remember that April was a hard month for me last year, right up until the very end. In early April, I discussed my exasperation in this post. Then there was the "close call" we had with the premature baby girl that pretty much sent me on a downward spiral.

If only someone could have told me our time was literally only days away...I wouldn't have wasted so much energy being upset.

In fact, I had gone to the doctor on April 28, to get our paperwork updated and signed yet again, thinking I was going to have to go through the process of updating our home study again. The conversation with the doctor had been very rough, I was struggling. I remember telling her how sad I was and feeling that she sort of wrote me off. I actually cried that day, all the way home on the 45 minute drive. I was just so exhausted and so depleted. I remember thinking that I wasn't sure we were supposed to keep going...feeling that maybe we should just throw in the towel.

If only someone could have told me our time was literally only days away...I wouldn't have wasted so much energy being upset.

Thinking about that now, I am amazed. To think that I sobbed and felt sorry for myself all the way home, as there was a woman only an hour away, giving birth to a baby and going through what must have been a tremendous amount of both physical and emotional pain. Well...I just wish I could have known. Not only do I wish I could have been there on the first day of our son's life but I also wish I could have known her. To maybe, on some small level, have been able to give her some sort of comfort and peace that her son would be loved. Yes, I wish I could have been there and I wish I could have known.

Still, I believe that Charlie's story is what it is for a reason. I am so very grateful for our son and for his birth mother. The day of his birth...the day that was the beginning of the greatest experience of our whole lives will forever be a day that is close to my heart, and not just because it's our son's birthday.



365 Days Later, Part One

Happy First Birthday to our beautiful, amazing, sweet, smart, funny little boy!

How is it possible that 365 days have already gone by since he entered this world? I really can't believe that. But what wonderful days they've been. So incredibly full of love and life; laughter and happiness. The transition into motherhood has been incredible for me. There have certainly been some hard times and some challenges I didn't expect; however, I can honestly say that by and large, this has been one of the happiest years of my life. The other day I heard a quote that I really liked:
"The only way you can really survive this world is to become what you are."
I think that's exactly what's happened for me, with Charlie. I was already a mother, at my core and in my heart of hearts...I just needed the perfect little boy to come along and help that part of me blossom. And perfect he is! I cannot imagine any other child at the center of our lives. He brings so much to our little family, as well as to our larger circle of family and friends.

The selfless sacrifice made my his birth mother truly humbles me. I think about her often, in one way or another but I am especially thinking about her today, as we celebrate the life of this precious little boy. I honestly can't imagine what she went through, and what she continues to go through as time moves forward. I don't (and probably never will) know her part of the story but her decision to give him life and to give him a safe start into this world is something for which I am eternally grateful.

Watching Charlie grow and learn, experiencing all the wonders of the world through his eyes. There is nothing quite like that kind of magic. Today, more than ever, I am thankful for his existence and for the multitude of joy, happiness and most of all, love that he brings to our lives.

Happy First Birthday, Son. I love you with all of my heart!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Copycat Post (Your Thoughts Requested!)

My dear blogging friend, BB posted a topic that was so great today that I'm copying her idea, hopefully she won't get mad. If you follow both of us, feel free to copy and paste your response to her in my comments!

Michael and I have the honor of speaking to the newest group of prospective adoptive parents at our agency this coming Friday. I am very excited to have the opportunity to be on the opposite side of the table! It's honestly quite strange/wonderful/surreal to realize that we've got a story other people want to hear and one they may benefit from hearing.

So...here's where you come in. What do you think we should talk about? Especially if you're still waiting right now...what is it that gives you hope? What do you want to hear or talk about when you talk to adoptive parents? What should we avoid? I would love to have your input!

I’m primarily planning to focus on how I felt during the wait. I want to convey the message (without being annoying and cliche about it) that they really need to hold on to the hope that the right child is out there for them and that the time will come, even when it seems like that will never happen. I don’t want to be that adoptive mom that makes it all sound so easy now that I have my baby. I want to tell them that I haven’t forgotten how hard it was to wait for Charlie but that I truly do believe we are better parents now, for having gone through the process and the pain of waiting for him.

Let me know what you think!



Sunday, April 25, 2010

Celebration Shoes

What better way to celebrate Mr. Baby's new walking abilities than to buy him...SHOES!

You want to know one really quirky thing about me? I could pretty much care less about shoes for adults (very unladylike of me:) but when it comes to kid shoes, hold me back! I LOVE the things...seriously! I have major issues parting with any of Charlie's baby shoes because they remind me of how sweet and little he once was. I mean he still is but well...you know what I mean.

So anyway, we went to Pay.Less today and they had their usual BOGO sale, which I fell for, exactly as they expected. That's where we got him the sandals and tennies, then I went on an outlet mall shopping trip with my girlfriend this afternoon and she and I found a great deal on the rain boots. Every little person needs rain boots, right?! :)

So there you have it. Little C. is officially hooked up for all the gallivanting we plan to do this summer. These are all size 5 and he currently measures at size 4. I'm hoping they'll fit reasonably well for now and leave him a little room for growth over the next few months.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Walk This Way

Well it's official, four short days before his first birthday, our little boy took his first steps! The video below is pretty shaky...but at least you can briefly see him in action. It's honestly a little surreal for me. I can't believe this is really our lives. There was a time when I thought I'd never have the chance to experience these milestones. Tonight, when I heard Michael say to Charlie, "Oh my son, I'm so proud of you." after he walked across the kitchen floor...it was a very sweet moment...we are both so very proud of our precious little man!


video


Thursday, April 22, 2010

I can hardly believe it...

There are several things I can hardly believe right now:
  1. Charlie will be ONE in less than a week.
  2. He's about to walk ANY day now. Actually...he took two steps tonight but Michael wasn't home at the time so we're still waiting for the official first steps. :)
  3. I haven't updated this blog in almost two weeks now. I've been busy with school, which brings me to the next point.
  4. I'm actually getting to the blessed end of this degree. There are some major brick walls trying to get in my way at the moment but I'm nothing if not determined. Student teaching happens in the fall and I can't wait.
  5. I've heard TWO stories this week about babies who were either extremely ill or possibly not even going to survive. Death is hard enough for me to deal with but when it's a baby in the picture, it cuts to my core. I try to have faith that things happen for a reason but that is hard for me when it comes to babies suffering and/or dying.
  6. Did I mention Charlie is going to be ONE next week? The above stories make me count my blessings with him even more than I already do. Seriously, PRECIOUS.
  7. I've only scrapbooked about the first two weeks of C's first year. I find this extremely ironic because before we had children I was a scrapbooking fanatic...I'm talking like 12+ completed albums, BIG albums, creative memories consultant kind of fanatic. And now...nothing. It's almost entirely due to the issue of time but seriously. All those years I wanted so badly to be able to scrapbook a baby album and now that I have the baby I can't seem to find the time to do the book *sigh*
  8. We STILL haven't mowed our yard for the first time this year. Again it's due to how busy we've been but I've never left it this late before and I feel like a bad neighbor. Plus I think it's going to rain ALL weekend. :(
I think that's it for now. I'm sure there are other things that belong on the list but honestly, I'm too tired to think much more tonight.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Frolicking...

Today we had a very unusual but very welcome snippet of summer. Typically in Michigan, we don't see 80 degrees until June or July but today's high was 79. You can bet Charlie and I took advantage of the nice weather and I snatched up my camera as we headed out the door. I took all of the photos below in my parent's "back yard," which happens to be part of the four acres on which they live:

He's certainly keeping me occupied these days--between making sure he doesn't eat something poisonous and preventing other major dangers, I never seem to get a break. He is seriously into everything all of a sudden and he has quite a strong independent "I can do it myself" streak going on at the moment. He's not even walking yet and he thinks he can rule the world, gees! But I love it too. I love watching the emergence of his delightful (if sometimes daunting) independence. His personality is really beginning to take shape and I love all the new things he's doing.