Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Highlights

We hope you all had a great Christmas!
Amanda enjoyed opening her pretty packages with fun ribbons.

She had a great time grabbing her cousin's penguin bib. Reilly wasn't too sure about Amanda.

Cousin Mari decided Amanda was her baby and didn't want anyone else to hold her or touch her. She was willing to help carry Amanda to me so I could feed her. Also, when five-year-old Cousin Elizabeth arrived she looked at Mari and said to me, "Did your baby grow up really fast?"

This is the Christmas story told by four-year-old Cousin Joshua. He starts out quiet but as his confidence grows his public speaking skills improve. His Daddy taught him to memorize Luke Chapter 2:1-20. It was so beautiful.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Day at the Sledding Hill

Last Tuesday it was relatively mild outside so we headed for the sliding hill. The boys did the sledding and Amanda and I just watched.
This is Amanda tucked inside her blanket in the wrap, under a sweatshirt and jacket taking her nap.

This is what she looked like from the outside. I can peek at her and snap a picture through the neck hole. These were Mike's sweatshirt and jacket.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Our little Christmas angel!

At four months, Amanda is 13 lb. 1/2 0z. and 24 1/2 in. long. She is very active and involved in the family activities. She grabs for her toys, our noses and the letters on Mike's shirts. She talks and coos all the time. She is sleeping 7-8 hours at night, although she likes to go to bed a bit later than I do. I usually pump after she goes to bed and early in the morning to keep up my milk supply. The boys are really enjoying her attention and smiles. She adores them and follows their voices around the room. Evening feedings are quite a challenge, because she's trying to nurse and take part in the conversations.

School is going well as I can read, correct homework, doing Latin drill or memory work while pumping or nursing. We are reading Little Men and King Arthur. Amanda does not like King Arthur so we read that when she's sleeping. Mike has gotten excited about memorization work and the boys have memorized the 23rd Psalm and "O, Captain, My Captain." Now they are working on the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. Our life is blissfully full and for that we are thankful!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Big Snow Storm

Amanda's first big snow happened on Sunday, December 1, 2007. Ten or twelve inches fell overnight. Then today more snow began to fall. Five inches have fallen already in its still coming down.

The boys have been thoroughly enjoying the newly fallen snow! It's wonderful to have snow so early in the year. We've had some pretty slow snow years.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Cutie

Amanda is almost four months old, 11 lbs. 11 oz. and 23 inches long.
She is very happy most of the time.
She can be quiet and inquisitive.

And sometimes she is very sad!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amanda Laughing

We just can't get enough of all the cute baby things Amanda does. Can you?

Little Mommies

Cousin Elisa and Mariella pointing out Amanda's body parts.
Cousin Elizabeth grooming Amanda with Katie. The pink hippo is from Cousin Joshua.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This magnet has been on my mom's refrigerator for years before Amanda came into our lives. After Amanda came home my mom was shocked to see the resemblance of the two babies. She was so excited that they had been praying for this cute little baby for years and now here she was, a part of our family. When we brought Amanda to visit her church, the church I grew up in, she was so excited to show every one the magnet and her new granddaughter. She's very proud of how we've chosen to promote the culture of life.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumping Marathon

I'm sorry for the lack of posts. I've been on a pumping marathon to try to increase my milk supply. Amanda's dainty little suckling just doesn't have the same effect as a double electric breast pump. Amanda nurses with the supplementer and then after I put her to bed, I go pump. I've started to see an improvement already so I'm going to just keep going. It is so time consuming, but I realize it is really important because she will only be little for a short season.In case any of you have images of Robert De Niro in a recent Ben Stiller movie, the supplementer is a small plastic bag filled with formula with a tiny tube running into her mouth while she's latched on and nursing. Pretty simple, nothing crazy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Laugh

Mike made Amanda laugh last night! A good hearty baby laugh! Mike has such a good time playing with Amanda and getting her to smile. He certainly has a big job dividing his time between his boys and his baby. He is filling every spare moment with soccer, football, baby cooing and even house chores and shopping. My job seems relatively easy compared to his; feed the baby, change the baby and put the baby to bed. He's a good daddy and husband and I thank God for him.
The last two nights Amanda has protest loudly after being put to bed, which was unusual. Both times she pooped immediately after being put on the potty. I'm just so thrilled she prefers to use the toilet. She also has shown a strong preference for taking all her feedings at the breast. She is such a blessing!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

You're my Mommy

As an adoptive mother, I find myself wondering if Amanda loves me as much as I love her. Am I special to her or could anybody meet her needs? She always begins smacking her lips when she hears my voice and is hungry, and she smiles more easily for Mike and I but there have been two other moments of note where Amanda has said, "You're my mommy!"

The first week we were home we had lots of visitors and she was held by many friends and family. On Saturday, she became fussy and no one else could calm her down. The moment I wrapped her up next to me, she relaxed and fell asleep. Then just yesterday, after a long day in the car, Amanda became inconsolable in her seat. I knew she was hungry and tired but she wouldn't take the bottle. Finally, we pulled over, I filled the supplementer, and took her out to nurse her. She nursed right away and fell asleep so we could make it the last half hour home. I'm so thankful she's bonding with us! Mike loves when he gets to wake her up for her feedings. She's so warm, snugly and calm, until she sees or hears me, of course.

This was a gift from Katie's aunt, by marriage, from Peru. My mom just loves this toy and says it will be very valuable during teething. This was the longest she held on to a toy and tried to get it to her mouth.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Busy Week

It's been a very busy week. On Sunday we drove to Cokato and visited our old church, had lunch with a friend, and visit the home fellowship that our homeschool friends began. We dropped the boys off with their good friends before all the visiting. We thought we'd spare them from all the cheek pinching and fussing over the new baby.

Everyone was so thrilled to see Amanda and they kept asking if we had moved back. At the home fellowship there was a little girl who was adopted from India. She was so thrilled to see some one with the same color hair as hers. She kept telling everyone, "She has the same hair as me!" There are so many blond Finlanders in that area, so she probably doesn't see much dark hair.

After Cokato, we drove to the Cities to see Elisa and the family. After getting home, my mom called to say that my great uncle had died and the funeral was on Friday. So, tomorrow Amanda and I will be traveling back to the Cities with my mom and grandmother.

Amanda traveled well, but it's been a tough week. Sunday was the last day of stored breastmilk and she seems to be having a little difficulty with the change to more formula. The doctor said that it was to be expected. Yesterday we had our first visit from our social worker and a doctor visit. She's 10 lbs 10 oz and 22 inches long. The doctor says that she looks very healthy.

Praise God!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Maya Wrap

We received this Maya Wrap in the mail yesterday from Elisa. It is so beautiful and we are so thrilled to have a ring sling! I've already found it makes nursing easier and the long tail is great for keeping me covered up. Amanda tucking in it right now as I'm typing.

In other news, Amanda's still on great schedule. She woke up around 1 am last night but I just checked her diaper and left her in bed. She fell back asleep until 6 am.
We're nursing great with the supplementor but I'm on my last few days of stored breastmilk. She's only getting about 2-4 oz of fresh milk from me per day, so we'll be buying formula this weekend. I pray my supply continues to increase, but using formula makes for easier traveling. We're celebrating by traveling to Cokato on Sunday.
I'm still taking Amanda to the toilet through out the day. She goes #1 often in the toilet and in her diapers, but she can go for days without going #2. Sometimes it's so long between times I wonder if I'll recognize the cues. We still have had only two dirty diapers in 3 weeks, the rest land in the pot. I wonder how things will change when she's taking more formula

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Amanda's Hair

This is Amanda's hair, too. She's looking at herself in the mirror.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rolling Over

I propped Amanda up on her elbows to take some cute photos of her holding her head up and she promptly rolled over before I could get a shot. She did this several more times before I was able to catch her in the act. Then I called the boys in to show them Amanda's new trick.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Baby Shower and Mom's Day Out

Yesterday the ladies from church threw us a baby shower. Amanda received some very cute outfits! We are so grateful to our church family as they share our joy. Amanda was just perfect. She slept while everyone passed her around, woke when it was time for her feeding, and then fell back asleep. The ladies really enjoyed her.

We came home and she slept in her carseat until her late night feeding. We've been feeding her right before Mike's ready to go to bed at 10:30-11 pm. I can't sleep until he comes to bed anyway, so there's no sense in going to sleep with him and waking back up in an hour or so. He gets to give her that last feeding. She still stays in bed until 6:30-7 am when he's ready to leave for work. Sometimes she wakes up earlier but we don't go get her and she always falls back asleep. That's working out for us and Mike gets his time with her, too. He's just giddy in the morning when he gets her out of bed.

Today, I went to town by myself to do the shopping. I had a couple of gift cards to use and Amanda still needed 0-3 months size Sunday clothes. We have a bunch of infant gowns that we use during the week. They work the best for toileting and diapering, but when we go out I figure she should be dressed pretty. My mom said she was glad I had dressed her up for church because there are so many cute clothes. She said people are disappointed if you just have her in pajamas. My mom's not a real fashion guru so the comment carries quite a bit of weight.

This was the first time I actually looked through the baby girls' clothing since Amanda came into our lives. There sure is a lot of cute stuff!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Elimination Communication

Have you ever seen those naked babies in developing countries and wondered about the mess? Elimination Communication is the name give to the system of knowing your baby so well that you know when they are going to eliminate and taking them to the toilet instead of letting them fill a diaper.

When I read about this years ago, I wondered how it was possible but I was anxious to give it a try. Why on earth would I want to do such a thing? Because I like spending time with my baby and I can. God has given me a wonderful capacity to learn new things and I won't let that go to waste.

So, here's the scoop. I planned to use cloth diapers to cut costs in both the cost of diapers and the cost of disposal. I was able to get a good sense of when Amanda would eliminate and began sitting her on the potty between my legs. The were certain things she would do; twist and turn while nursing, latch on and off, grunt and get red in the face. We've had great success for about a week and a half. I haven't had to wash out any dirty diapers. They've only been wet.

We are on such a good routine of eating and sleeping that is doesn't mean extra time or energy. She usually nurses through half a feeding. We sit on the potty while she burps. I sing to her, talk to her and she looks in my eyes and smiles. She also gets practice sitting up. I noticed that she was getting stronger and supporting herself more. After a bit, we finish the feeding. I use warm water to encourage her to urinate before going to bed and upon waking. So, that's two or three trips to the potty in the hour that she's awake. Then she's in bed for two hours.

During the day, I put her in cloth diapers for naps, but as soon as she wakes up I remove the diaper and just have her sit on a cloth diaper. If she urinates before going to bed and I wake her up her diaper will be dry. More often her diaper is wet and she often awakes from her nap because it's wet. As soon as I change it, she falls back asleep. When we go out and at night we still put her disposables.

I am not trying to "potty train" my infant. I'm simply following her cues so that I don't have to wash out a dirty diaper. The added bonus will be that when she is capable of controlling her bowel and bladder the potty will already be a normal part of her life.

P.S. I have had to wash out a dirty diaper since this original post, but far fewer you'd expect.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pictures for Elisa

Amanda smiling at her toys.

The picture of Amanda sleeping is from the beginning of September. The rest are from the beginning of October.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sleeping through the night

It's true Parent Directed Feeding really means more sleep for everybody!

When I learned about PDF it sounded wonderful and much better than what I experience with Demand Feeding. However, I didn't now my next baby would be adopted and I wouldn't have the benefit of "holding" her for nine months prior to birth. So, needless to say, we held her every moment we could while we were in Texas and then for a week back at home. But when I was ready to get out life back in order I called my friend Jennifer to get started with PDF.

She told me I needed to wake Amanda up to feed her every three hours, keep her wide awake for a full feeding in under 40 minutes, keep her up 20 more minutes, then put her in her bed to sleep. I wasn't to pick her up until the next feeding time. I should check for diaper changes, safety and comfort, but leave her in her crib. She promised me organizing the day would lead to full night sleep.

Amanda protested to the new order of business with gusto. I kept doubting myself and worrying. But Jennifer reassured me that it would get better. Even if Amanda cried on and off for her whole nap time, she'd be okay. So, I persisted. I called for support. My friend sent me my books Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD.

The days we going fine, but Amanda was still waking up ever two hours at night until about midnight and then she'd sleep until 5 am, nurse lazily and go back to sleep until 7 am or 8 am. I kept scanning the books trying to figure out what I was supposed to do what was normal when would this get better. Finally, I put all the pieces together. A baby Amanda's age can go 6-8 hours at nights without a feeding. When she woke at night I could never really test if she was hungry or simply wanting comfort because once I defrosted the stored breastmilk I made sure she drank it because it was too precious to go to waste if she feel asleep half way through a feeding.

Dr. Weissbluth said a baby Amanda's age would start needing an earlier bedtime with only one night waking and shouldn't be allowed to start the day before 6 am. So, I made the rules. After Amanda's last feeding at 7 pm she would stay in bed until after midnight. At midnight I would feed her and then she would stay in bed until after 6 am. I would check to make sure her diaper wasn't dirty if she cried persistently but she would stay in bed.

That was Sunday night, there was considerable crying on and off until the midnight feeding and then starting at 4 am, there was more on and off crying. Then last night she went to be at 7 pm and didn't start fussing until 11 pm, ate at 12 am and then slept until 7 am! I would call that sleeping through the night!

Also, PDF has made having Amanda eliminate in the toilet really easy because we have such a good schedule, but I'll have to write more about that later. It time to wake her up for her next feeding!

Monday, October 8, 2007

First Cousins

This is Amanda and Reilly. Reilly is Mike's brother's daughter. She was born September 10th, the day Amanda came home from Texas. She was 8 lbs 9 oz when she was born. Even though Amanda is a month older, Reilly is just a little bit bigger. We're going to have fun swapping clothes back and forth. Reilly's mom sent home some clothes that were too small for Reilly and I sent her a box of clothes that were too big for Amanda.
We took their clothes off to really compare the two. Amanda began to reach out to touch Reilly.

They just looked at each other intently and then Amanda smiled at her! It was so sweet!
As I stood there staring at these two sweet baby girls, I was overwhelmed by the thought that when we found out they were expecting last year, I never expected to have my own little girl laying there next to theirs. It certainly sweetens the moment beyond words.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fall Colors

Amanda Marie at eight weeks old. What more can I
say? She is a miracle and God is faithful.

She weighs 9 lbs. 1 oz. and is 20 1/2 in. long.