Friday, July 30, 2010

A Trip to #2 Hippo Way

When Charlie was born, one of the very best gifts we received was a season pass to the Toledo Zoo.  This zoo is's apparently one of the top ten zoos in the country.  It's an easy day trip for us since it's not very far from home. 

The pictures you see here are some of my favorite photos from each of the two times we've taken Charlie there so far.  The first time was on a fluke warm day back in November.  He was only about six months old at the time and I can't believe he was ever that small!

The second was just this past weekend.  He had such a blast, running around ALL over the place and exploring the new neighborhood play space they have just for kids.  Great times!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quality vs. Quantity

Today was one of those know the kind.  Running all over the place but not really accomplishing much at all.  I had a lot of school stuff to do and a standing social obligation that I didn't want to pass up.  Hence, I had very little time with the boy today.

Still, when we were together, we were cuddling and laughing and happy.  Certainly that counts for something, right?  I hope it counts for a lot because come the fall, when I start my full-time student teaching stint, that's the way things are going to be for us, most of the time.

I'm literally split right down the middle about the major changes that are headed our way in a little over a month.  One part of me is excited in a great anticipation sort of way and one part of me is terrified in an, "I don't know if I can do this" sort of way.  On top of my own anticipation/fear came the news that we will need to find new child care arrangements for C.  This development was not terribly surprising but still makes me feel sad.  We had a great arrangement going last year and I'm sad to see it go.  On the other hand, C. is getting to the age where it will be very beneficial for him to be around other kids and to have a little more structure to his days.  Yet again, I feel split right down the middle:  One part sad and one part excited to see what the next chapter holds.

I know it will all be fine.  I know plenty of people work full time (plus!) and still manage to maintain a great relationship/bond with their children.  I know many of you do it.  My sister does it.  I also know plenty of people who greatly enjoy their work away from home because they feel truly connected when they come back, rejuvenated rather than burned out.  Besides, it's not like I've been home full time forever.  I've had the blessing of two beautiful, languid summers with C. but I've also been pretty consistently busy with school since he was four months old.  I guess what I'm most worried about/scared of is the loss of my flexibility.  School allows for that...not only in terms of scheduling but in case anything unexpected comes up out of the blue.  While I do place attendance high on my list of priorities, I don't have to go to school if I don't want to.  With student teaching, I will put my very best professional foot forward and work...probably harder than I ever have before {not that I don't work hard now or haven't in the past} and it will all be for no pay.  That's an exhausting prospect no matter how you slice it.  At the same time, I can't wait to experience the whole picture of life in the classroom as someone other than the substitute teacher for the put all the pieces of the puzzle together, so to speak, and get my feet wet for what my future career will really be like.

Ahhhh...I'm just so mixed, so all over the place about how I really feel.  And the time is flying by, fast!  Today was a glimpse into how I'm going to feel every day come the fall and it was bittersweet for me, in a big way!        

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Grand Day Out!

Yesterday was a special day for Charlie and me.  Rebekah and I, along with our baby boys, drove to Grand Rapids, where we met up with BB and her little one for an afternoon of fun at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Gardens. We spent the majority of our time in the super cool Children's Garden they have there.   

It was so amazing to have all of our sweet little miracle babies together in one spot.  These two girls were some of the first I ever started following here on the blog and their stories and support have been both an inspiration and a safety net for me throughout mine.  Another adoptive mom put it very well when she said, "It's wonderful to actually meet with those people who've supported us through our journeys. It's a beautiful thing."  I couldn't agree more and I'm very thankful for having had the opportunity to move my relationship with these amazing women beyond the blogosphere.  I've said it before but it's worth repeating, I'm really not sure how I would have survived our adoption journey without this blog and the genuine connections it has forged.  So fascinating to me that 15 years (or so) ago this sort of thing never would have or could have happened.  And at the same time it feels completely natural, I feel like they've been my friends forever.  There's something so comforting about being in the company of people who just get it...people who have traveled down very similar roads to ours and consequently don't need any explanations for how beautiful and yet how complicated being an adoptive mom can be at times.  

Since I'm clearly at the risk of rambling on even further, I'll conclude with some of the best photos from the day.  We had a great time!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Part of Me

A few days ago I found my old paper journal from last year, the one I was writing right up through the end of our wait for C. and then into his arrival.

Wow it was really strange to read back over those times.  I was really struggling there towards the end of our wait.  I was writing almost every day (not to mention my blog posts here,) which, if you know me, is a pretty sure sign that I'm down and out.

It's so strange because that seems like almost an entirely different world to me now.  There is a part of me that can't remember what my life was like before C. came along but by the same token, there is a part of me that will never forget the struggle and the pain of waiting for him as long as we did.  I have reached a point where I'm genuinely thankful for that struggle, for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it ultimately created our beautiful family. 

Having said that, in a very good way, C. is simply a part of me now and I don't continuously think about his arrival the same way I once did.  He is still our greatest blessing and the miracle of his life will forever be immeasurable to us but he just is now more than he ever was before.

I wish someone could have told me.  I spent so much of my time and energy there towards the end of our wait for C. being miserable and feeling sad.  I wish I could have known that I only had to hold on a few months longer and the sun would come out.  I know it wouldn't have mattered that much if someone had told me--I had to go through that part of our journey as much as I had to go through any part of it.  It's just that reading my own words (hearing myself talk if you will) during those times is really bleak.  If I could have written to myself back then from where I am now, I would have told myself to sing and laugh and dance and be happy.  I would have told myself to stop worrying so much about tomorrow and focus on today.  Ahhhh, if only that was as easily done as it is said!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Few Words

Little C. has been talking up a storm lately.  He likes to say words one time and then refuse to repeat them, leaving his mommy to wonder if he really said the word or if she just imagined it.  But he is learning so much right now and really seems to be trying to break the language code.

My favorite thing is when he looks right at me and spews off a long string of baby babble, complete with inflection and varying pitch/volume/tone.  He's clearly saying something important, I just don't know what!

Last night as we walked two houses down to visit one of my best friend's, Nancy, he saw her yard and said, "Nacy."  That was it though, he refused to say her name again the rest of the night.  Then this morning, as he pulled my glasses off the headboard of our bed to hand them to me (which he does every morning) he said glasses, only he didn't clearly pronounce the "gl" part.  Yeah, that was funny.  He also said umbrella tonight when we were having dinner with my parents out on their deck.  It sounded surprisingly clear (umbedda) but yet again, he wouldn't repeat himself for anything!  His other current favorite words are duck, truck, fishy, up (upeee,) uh-oh, brush, yay (as he claps,) no (sounds more like none,) varying animal sounds and hi or hello.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Kissing the Curls Goodbye!

Today was a big day for our little boy. He had his very first hair cut! I think this is what he wants to say about the experience:

Lord have mercy, that picture makes me want to start crying all over again...he surely does know how to push my buttons! But, although he wasn't a happy camper, he did survive and manage to recover his composure pretty quickly, not to mention the fact that he looks absolutely adorable (and oh so much older) post-hair cut!

To be honest, the whole experience was overwhelming for me...and I think for all of us. I had it in my mind that we needed to go to an official barber shop, someone who knew what they were doing when it comes to caring for and handling African-American hair. Problem was, we didn't have an appointment and it was harder than you might imagine to find someone who was willing to take a walk-in for a baby. The place we finally did locate was the fourth place we stopped. I'm glad they were willing to do the job because otherwise I would've given up at that point.

Here's the little guy, as happy as can be...blowing raspberries while we waited our turn.

And here's the obligatory "after" shot, once he had calmed down a bit. Where has my little baby gone??

They did a great job and I would definitely go back BUT...we had to wait for almost two hours for our turn! Yes, TWO HOURS sitting there in uncomfortable chairs, trying to keep our toddler occupied and at the same time well-behaved. If I had known it would be that long we would have changed plans but the time kept ticking by little by little. I didn't really want to leave and lose our place in line but patience was worn pretty thin by the time all was said and done. Also, holding Charlie while he cried and tried desperately to release himself from my grasp was not a pleasant experience. Even though the actual cut didn't take that long, it was exhausting. I had intentions of keeping his hair a little longer than it is but because his curls were so thick, the clippers kept getting stuck. At the barber's suggestion, we decided to clip it all off. Although I do miss the curls and would have preferred to leave some hair, I couldn't bear putting him through any further misery. I guess the great thing about hair is that it grows back, right?! I'm glad that experience is behind us...I hope the next time (when he's a bit older and we're better prepared) will go more smoothly.