Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two Talent Day

Amanda made two major achievements today.

First, she learned how to open drawers. The storage drawer on the stove and the bathroom drawer opened much to her surprise and at a detriment to her balance. Now we have to teach her to stay out of the drawers.

Second, she learned that teeth are very handy for eating crunchy foods like apple. Tony was cutting up an apple for himself when he dropped a piece of his core. She snatched it right up and started using her teeth to bite pieces off. When she saw me coming toward her quickly, she burst into tears because she knew I was going to take it away from her. Then I cut up and skinned an apple that she spent a long time savoring. This was the first time she was allowed to feed herself anything. It might be time for a high chair.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Date Night and My Boys

Mike and I took the boys to Prince Caspian* yesterday. They sat with their friends, so it was kind of like we were on a date. This was only the second time Mike and I left Amanda with a babysitter and went somewhere together. The number of times she's ever been left with a babysitter I can count on one hand. That's just the kind of mom I am. This time goes by so short, I don't want to miss a thing. Like the cute way her lip sticks out when she's grinding her four little teeth together.Do you remember my boys? They are 13 and 11. They consume a great deal of my time, energy and creativity, however they don't want me to write about them or post pictures of them. Too bad. I'll just have to post a picture of Amanda in the cute dress our pastor's wife bought for her.
*Prince Caspian wasn't as good as the the first Narnia movie in terms of depth, value and connection to the book. It certainly had cool graphics and lots of battles, if you like that sort of thing and my boys do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nine Months

At nine months old, Amanda weighs 17 lbs and measures 26 1/2 inches long. She has two front teeth on top and two front teeth on bottom. Her curls are beginning to grow back. She says, "Ma-Ma," "Da-da," "ba-ba," and "eeee," although not in reference to objects or people. This is her little box of kitchen toys that she plays with while I'm working in the kitchen. I don't let her dig in my cupboards, nor has she figured out how to open them, but I found her some interesting things that I don't use very often. Her favorite toy used to be the melon baller until I gave her the wooden spoons.

When she woke up from her nap today, she was clicking her teeth together. It was another new skill she discovered and had to practice.

She's learning to get used to the new sounds of spring- loaders, stone cutters, and stump grinders.

Mike said his favorite time with her is when he picks her up from her bed and she hugs him tight around the neck, other than that she's a little wiggle worm.

Her balance is improving and she often holds on one-handed while standing.

Both mom and baby suffered and are recovering from colds this week. We are thankful that we have been healthy for most of this year.

Thoughts on Bonding

Often parents ask themselves when considering adoption, "Will I love this child as much as I love/would love a biological child?"

Love is a choice, a commitment, a decision. Once you choose to welcome another child into your home, to provide for them, to teach them, to train them, to support them, you begin to make choices that make those feelings of love grow. I love my husband and am closely bonded to him and we don't share any genes. I love him because I have chosen to love him and be his help meet. I know he needs me in a special way and I'm willing to be there for him.

It's the same with Amanda. When she looked at us with those big brown eyes and seemed to say, "Are you going to take care of me?"- nothing else mattered. She was our baby and our responsibility. There was no doubt that she would be well-loved.

Adoptive nursing, babywearing, elimination communication, and cloth diapering have been practices that have helped with bonding, since the amount of time you spend with a person is directly related to the strength of your bond. I can hardly describe what it was like the first time Amanda nursed and then drifted peacefully off to sleep.

I am forgetting one very important point. My ability to love Amanda, my husband, and my boys is directly related to my relationship with God. Knowing that I am loved and care for makes me free to share that love with those around me. Choosing to love them and devote myself to their caring and upbring will not go unrewarded because I have done it in devotion to Jesus and he will be the one to say, "Well, done my good and faithful servant."

You know you're in love when the highlight of your day is feeding your baby rice puffs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, we drove to the Cities for Cousin Shianna's Baptism. It was at a vibrant Catholic Church full of young families with lots of children. It was wonderful and busy.
Amanda enjoyed seeing her cousin and Shianna was so adorable in her pretty white dress.
My aunt has an amazing garden that is perfect for wonderful photos. I could have spent hours there taking beautiful shots. Amanda was so interested in the dirt, flowers, and all the new things to see. Being outside is such a new and exciting experience for her.
Our last stop was at Cousin Elisa's to visit Joshy and Mariella. The last time they were together, Amanda enjoyed being held a bit more. Now she just wanted to escape and play with all the fun toys on the floor.
It was a good trip but tiring for everybody. Amanda only slept for a short time in the car. My mom and grandmother came from farther up north and we picked up Lucy along the way. It's always good to reconnect with family.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Crawling In the Grass

We went to the barn to work for the first time this spring. For the last two years we have helped an elderly couple on their pony farm. We've cleaned stalls, washed ponies, trained ponies, given rides, mended fences and helped in the garden. The boys did most of the working today while I puttered in the garden with Amanda on my back. She was so good and just looked around and enjoyed the sights.

The grass looked so green and lovely at the farm. So, after a quick trip to the potty, Amanda crawled in the grass for the first time. It was so funny to watch her carefully pick her way through the grass. I'm sure it was so different for her than crawling on hard floor or carpet. It was very different for me, too. It is a big milestone for me to allow her to get down and crawl through the grass and dirt.

Next time we go, I need to remember work gloves and my camera.

Warning-Screeching and Squealing for Joy

Monday, May 5, 2008

Walk me down the aisle, Daddy!

Mike's brother was married last Saturday. It was a very special occasion and so Amanda has a very special dress. She was pretty excited and on the move, so I'll have to get more pictures of her dress another day.

There is a flower in our bedroom that Mike takes Amanda to see and touch gently everyday. She touched her uncle's flower with the same care.
The wedding was so lovely and everyone looked their best. The little girls showed off their pretty dresses together at the wedding and then were wisked off to bed while the adults continued to celebrate.