Friday, July 23, 2010

22 Months Old and More

Evie is 22 months old and we are officially waiting to adopt again! I dropped our new profile books at the social worker's office yesterday, and she activated our file. We'll be up on her website in a couple of weeks. We are excited, but also apprehensive about jumping back in the pool of waiting families right now, while Evie is in a clingy phase and my sister-in-law, A, is expecting twins in a few weeks (they are due in October but almost certainly coming sooner since she's already on bed rest for pre-term contractions at 28 weeks).

With Evie's adoption, we were only active for 10 days between Lucy's adoption disrupting and being matched with R & G, so technically the same thing could happen this time and we could be matched quickly. You just never know.

I hope we wait a few months at least, so that my mom can spend plenty of time helping with the twins without feeling torn and wanting to come visit our new baby as well, and so that I'll be able to travel to Mississippi (where my brother, D, is stationed with the Navy) and help them out as well. Right now the plan is for me to make 2 trips to MS...once to help out while A is on bed rest and again to help out when the twins arrive. Evie will come with me for both trips and have a chance to play with her 3-year-old boy cousin, C. She loves playing with older kids and learning new tricks from them, so I predict Evie will enjoy the trips and I'll be able to be a help to D & A.

Another project around here is to fully transition Evie from her crib to her toddler bed before we adopt baby #2. These days she tends to decide NOT to go to sleep, but instead to create piles of stuff. This particular pile is stuffed animals, books and a doll bathtub, which was her project in place of bedtime last night:

More photos from month 22...

She gets better at climbing each month as her legs get longer:

In a woven wrap (borrowed) at a babywearing get-together (she hates being worn and would much rather run around on her own feet, but I still use the Ergo quite a bit for errands):

At Grandma and Grandpa's house in late June:
Daddy's Girl:
She LOVES to hang these days, and unfortunately tries to hang on furniture a lot. We are trying to break her of that habit, out of fear that she'll some day pull something heavy on top of herself, so we really need something like this in the back yard, since we don't have this in the back yard:
Big girl swing:
How do you go out to eat with a toddler? Stickers:

Evie learned about rolling down the sand hills from The Wiggles, so now she log rolls on any hill I'll let her. Here she is on The Lawn at U.Va. in early July:
Doing a dance near The Aviator:
Argh, this would have been a perfect picture of her in front of the Rotunda except for that darn balloon she was obsessed with that day. She'll have this picture up on her dorm wall some day. :)
Sporting Grandma's hat:
Playing drums with Daddy at church:Evie's ABC's (why did I decide to shoot these videos where I have no makeup and workout clothes on? I have no clue):

Evie has had a cute habit of saying "hopi" for "hold it" for months now, and my mom has repeatedly reminded me to get it on video before she grows out of it. She was right! In the process of shooting this video (in which I purposefully taunt her with an illicit colored pen to get the "hopi" out of her) she says "hold it" for the first time:

Finally, we've been watching Elmo ride his tricycle...

...and that has done the trick to get Evie started riding hers "just like Elmo." Now that she has the idea of pedaling we need to work on steering before we slap a helmet on her and let her loose in the park.

In conclusion, here are a couple of quotes I want to remember from this month:

*[pointing to the Pirate's Booty on top of the fridge] "Booty Time!"


*[pointing to the cursive letter "L" on my shirt] "ELephant! Braloo!" (braloo is an elephant trumpeting noise, in case you didn't know)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Silk and Linen

Happy Anniversary to J and me! We have been married 12 years today (the silk and linen anniversary, apparently). Two years ago we were at the airport, about to board a plane headed for Mexico and our 10th anniversary vacation, and we got a call from our social worker about Evelyn Beatrix. I don't think any anniversary gift will ever top that.

I'm going to take this opportunity to write about something that I've been pondering for a few months, ever since J's grandfather passed away in March. The reverend who gave the eulogy (the same man who officiated at our wedding 12 years ago) asked for stories and thoughts from the family to include in his sermon at the funeral. I kept silent because J's grandparents had 5 children and many grandchildren and I didn't think my contribution was really necessary considering the many contributions from other family members. But the question got me thinking about J's grandfather's legacy and about Zeph, since at that time we had just recently learned that we wouldn't be able to adopt him.

I'm not sure I can express this as eloquently as I feel it, but my marriage to J is part of Grandpa's legacy. Grandpa D loved his kids and grandkids, but most of all he loved his wife, J's beloved Grandma, who passed away last September. He loved her in the way God commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). And Ephesians 5:28: "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

I don't imagine that J's grandparents lives together were perfect and free from arguments and conflicts, but J's grandfather truly loved his wife in this biblical way and everyone who knew them saw the bonds of love that held them together as husband and wife for 63 years. That legacy of respect and devotion was passed down to the next generation, and I have witnessed the same relationship between J's parents. Ever since I've known them, I've admired the devotion, tenderness and respect that J's dad shows for his mom. I am immensely blessed to be the beneficiary of this legacy. J grew up with role models who showed him how a man ought to love his wife, and he has been a patient, faithful, forgiving, romantic, thoughtful, mature, compassionate and loving spouse to me for 12 years, through many different phases of life.

He loved me through my immature early 20's, the stress of beginning my teaching career, the agony of infertility, minor depression, a crisis of faith, the pain of our experience with Lucy and the sleep deprivation and decision-making of parenting Evie. Of course there were also high points during those times, but it is easy to love your spouse during the fun times, and J has always loved me through the rough times as well. I have no doubt that he will be loving me just as faithfully for the rest of our lives.

As a 20-year-old newlywed I didn't have enough life experience to appreciate how blessed I am to have married such a man, especially since I witnessed the same love and devotion in my own parent's and grandparent's marriages, so I thought it was a given. But now that I've had more life experiences and have seen other types of husbands, other types of marriages, I have become aware that J is truly a gift from God to me. I can't thank his father and grandfather enough for having helped make him the husband that he is.

As for Zeph, I truly hope that his childhood is happy and healthy and that he grows up with parents who adore him. But I am sad for him that he won't get to grow up with J as his dad and our fathers as his Grandpa and Papa. There are things that frighten me about the possibility of mothering a son some day (toy guns, plastic cockroaches, rubber vomit, puberty), but at the same time I am excited by the idea of having a hand in raising a baby into a man, a man who will be just like his dad and will some day pass on that legacy of love, tenderness and respect to his own son.

Deuteronomy 7:9: "[God] is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."

Monday, July 12, 2010


Evie can count to ten! She's also learning her ABC's (more on that in another post) and learning to pedal a tricycle (ditto). The below video was supposed to show off her new skill but instead showcases what a ham she is. I recorded this via web cam and she could see herself the whole time, which was much more interesting than counting to ten.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zen and the art of flying with a pookie

This past week we traveled to Washington, D.C. because J had a conference for work. Evie and I tagged along with him to visit grandma, grandpa and friends in the area. This was Evie's fifth round-trip air experience since her birth. Each of these trips has taught me something.

At 6 months, Evie and I flew to the D.C. area to visit friends. This trip taught me survival skills. It involved a 3-leg flight, meaning 3 takeoffs and 3 landings (but we stayed on the same plane thank goodness). Six opportunities for Evie's ears to pop and for me to feed her a bottle to relieve the pressure. Six times in three hours. Please remember that Evie was a happy spitter. I brought ten bibs and six burp cloths on the plane with me and still ended up with spit up all over myself and Evie by the end. And we survived! After that trip I felt invincible as a mother (briefly). I also discovered that if your baby accidentally teethes on a plane seat belt, the world will not implode.

At 10 months, Evie and I flew to D.C. once again to visit friends and my grandmother in Virginia. This trip taught me the true value of camaraderie. My mother met up with us at our layover in the Detroit airport and flew 1/2 of the way with Evie and me. Her presence transformed the flight from a trial to a pleasure! Two adults are SO much better than one...especially when the other adult is Grandma. This trip also taught me that sometimes there is an excellent reason to let a baby crawl on the floor of an airport, and I shouldn't judge other moms who do the same, as long as they wash the baby's hands afterward. :)

At 15 months, we all flew to San Antonio for Christmas, and I learned that flying with toddlers is totally different from flying with babies. Toddlers can walk, and airplanes have floors. This is stressful for everyone. Also, toddlers aren't necessarily lulled to sleep by engine noise the way babies are. In fact, being confined in parental laps seems to have a stimulant effect. I also learned the value of memorizing your child's favorite songs and finger plays. Singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Shake Your Sillies Out" was much more effective than any other distraction on that trip, including books, Baby Einstein on the laptop and even snacks.

At 17 months, we all flew to Florida to see part of J's family. I learned that scheduling a flight for bedtime, thinking that the child will sleep through the entire thing, is an extremely misguided decision. It is a risky gamble, and when the cards don't fall your way, everyone on the plane suffers.

Finally, at 21 months, we flew to Washington D.C. for a third time this past week. Thankfully, Daddy flew with us this time. And we were better educated about our options. We brought along a car seat for Evie to the gate and inquired about any available empty seats on the flight. I recently learned that most airlines will accommodate a baby or toddler this way. Even if you haven't paid for a ticket for a child under age 2, you might be able to install his/her car seat in an empty seat for free. All you need to do is bring the car seat to the gate and ask, nicely. If there aren't any open seats, the gate agents will check the car seat for free. We bought a Cosco Scenera (currently on clearance at Target for only about $35!) just for this purpose, since Evie's Recaro Como is too bulky to cart around the airport and haul on board.

I had heard, and fervently hoped, that buckling Evie into her car seat on the plane would pacify her wanderlust, since she is used to being confine in the harness in the car, and would enable her to sleep on the plane as she can in the car. After some drama over whether or not there were any open seats on our flight, we were finally able to install Evie's seat on our flight to D.C. At first, everything went smoothly. Evie seemed comfortable and content. I read to her and gave her snacks, and we talked about the airplane and the takeoff. We had been reading Airport almost every day for the week before the flight, and Evie seemed delighted by the reality of flying in the airplane. However. Just because it was nap time and Evie was in a car seat (granted, not her cushy regular one) didn't mean she would succumb to the white noise of the engines and drift off to sleep. She didn't sleep a wink. Instead, she decided to seize control of her situation (being strapped in and unable to fiddle with the window, tray table, fan, light and magazines) by kicking the back of the seat in front of her. This was a full flight, and there was a very nice woman reading a book in the seat in front of Evie.

Whoever you are, lady, I am SO SORRY.

I spent the last 3/4 of the flight...a full 1.5 hours in the air...trying to cajole, convince, threaten, bribe, plead and explain to Evie to NOT kick the seat in front of her. At times I would resort to holding her feet still, but then I would foolishly decide to model napping. I would close my eyes and encourage Evie to close hers as well. Instead, she would seize the chance to kick the seat while Mommy's eyes were closed. (Later, my friend Jen said I should have asked the woman in front to turn around and fuss at Evie; that might have actually worked.)

Almost as soon as we began our descent, I realized my mistake. I was attached to the idea of Evie napping on the plane and refused to accept the reality that she wasn't going to sleep. If I had only released control of the situation and stopped trying to get her to sleep, I could have pulled out her books and stickers and played The Wiggles on J's laptop and distracted her from kicking the seat. All that flight needed was a little zen on Mama's part. Sigh.

I redeemed myself on the flight home. We flew in the morning, but Evie was visibly tired from a late bedtime and early reveille that morning. But I did not succumb to the allure of a plane nap, oh no! I cheerfully pulled out the books and snacks and movies and we had a great flight. It also helped that the plane was almost empty, and there wasn't anyone seated in front of Evie this time. When I first plopped Evie into her car seat and began buckling her harness, she gave a hard kick to the seat in front of her and shot me a meaningful look: "See, Mama, I remember last week. What are you going to do about it?" Kick away, child, kick away. Mama learned her lesson.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Then and Now

Four generations Then (Dec '08) and Now:
Hanging with Snippet Then (Jul '09) and Now:

Sculpture Garden Then and Now:

Sculpture Garden grass Then and Now:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th from our little lady and thanks to all of the women and men in the armed services who continue to keep our country free and safe.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog