Saturday, January 22, 2011

Videos from Amanda's Skating

This is from the first hour or so that we were out on the ice. We were the only ones out on the ice, but every time I skated a short distance away from Amanda she would holler, "Mama! I need to hold your hand so you don't fall down!" Her confidence in my skating ability has improved but she still doesn't like me to skate too far away from her.

This video is from after snack time. It's amazing how quickly she began to feel comfortable on the ice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!!!!!!!!

I had a great birthday!!! I got up early and took the girls skating again. Amanda's improvement is incredible and was noted by the guy who was jogging the track on Tuesday while we were there. I let Christiana out of the stroller so she could walk around and she had fun. The ice is not frequently Zambonied so it wasn't very slippery. After our snack, Tali fell asleep in the stroller but the other girls were getting whiny so we didn't stay very long. Next time I need to make snack time shorter.

On the way out, I got some information and I think I will be getting membership. If we go skating twice a week, it would be cheaper to get a membership and then we could use the pool and gym. I can get a individual pass and the kids under 12 are free. Nice! We can also get guest passes for cheaper, too. I generally try to do activities that are free and local to save money and gas but ice skating seems to be such a good fit for us to get through the long winter when it's too cold for the babies to be outside. Ice skating just works because I can keep them partly bundled the whole time (assuming no dirty diapers). Bundling the babies is the most stressful part of leaving the house. At the indoor rink, I always know the approximate temperature and can plan accordingly.

So, Happy Birthday to me! I'm getting a gym membership!

When I came home, I was very happy to see Mike's vehicle in the driveway. Getting three tired and fussy girls into the house is always a challenge. Mike is usually home for lunch so it's nice to count on that help.

Today he also had these lovely tulips for me. One year, he brought home some amazing tulips for our anniversary in May but since then every attempt has been futile. He was so thrilled when they had a new shipment of fresh tulips. I was so thrilled to see they were in a wide mouth mason jar. He told the florist to just put it into something cheap because he figured I'd probably them into my own vase at home (I used to work in a floral shop and loved to arrange my own). But I actually needed another jar since the last time I made yogurt one of mine broke.

Amanda is just in love with my flowers. I think she'd like to get some for her birthday too.

The girls gifted me with an hour and a half of syncronized napping. Love that!

Then friend from our church came over with dinner and for a visit. That was really nice and there's plenty of leftovers. It was a very nice birthday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Passion is a better word.

It's my birthday this week which always elicits the irresistible desire to go ice skating. My mom brought some skates for Amanda last Friday and on Saturday we tried them on. Much to my surprise, Amanda walked around in them happily for a very long time (with the guards on, of course.) She seemed very excited to try ice skating. I was even more excited to have her try skating.

We only live a few blocks from an indoor arena. We used to skate there often but now they never have open skating. They have an outdoor rink but the high today was -2 F. It has to be at least 20 F for me to consider outdoor skating. The next closest rink is 1/2 hour away at a community center that almost always has open ice before 3 pm.

I dressed the little girls in layers and packed extra snow clothes to put on once we got there. I dressed Tali first and then strapped her on my back while I got everyone else ready. I packed the skates, extra clothes, camera, and diaper bag into a laundry basket. I packed cheese sticks, bananas, a cup for water, water, chips and raisins for a snack. This weekend Christiana practiced climbing up and down the stairs so she was able to climb downstairs by herself. I only had to lift her down the step in the garage and then into her car seat. It was a little tricky with Tali on my back. But better than listening to Tali squawk while I buckle the other girls.

I buckled the girls, covered them with blankets, loaded the stroller in the side door next to Amanda where the seat is folded forward, loaded Tali in her side and then opened the garage and backed out. Our garage is insulated so it stays about 30 degrees which isn't too bad. I only had to run back in for my jacket. I was wearing a light fleece jacket over a t-shirt and never needed my jacket. I thought the babies would take a nap in the van because they've started to do that on occasion but Tali didn't. Christiana might have.

We got to the community center at about 9 am. I left the van running with the heat on. I unloaded the stroller and climbed in to put on the girls' extra clothes that were too bulky for wearing in their car seats. I nursed Tali while helping Amanda into her snow pants and skates. I thought it would be faster to have Amanda ride in the stroller with her skates on and carry Tali but that wasn't a great plan. It was too hard to navigate so next time I'll just wait to put Amanda's skates on in the arena. So, Amanda rode in front of the stroller and Christiana in back and I carried Tali.

Most of the people at the gym/pool/ice arena/track were older so they really got a kick out of our crew. Amanda could hardly wait for me to get my skates on. Before pushing the stroller onto the ice, I wiped all of the wheels clean to make sure we didn't get any gravel on the ice. I was planning to use a rag but I forgot that so I used baby wipes. I had a full pack since I was expecting a blowout from Christiana (thankfully that never happened until we were home).

Amanda did so awesome and the babies were mostly content. She was really pretty steady on her feet and tried hard. My boys had such a hard time learning to skate and were so miserable. They were 8 and 10 before we really got a chance to practice and they just weren't that excited about it. I'm so thrilled that Amanda loves it.

She held my hand, held onto the stroller, pushed the learn-to-skate frame (do they have a name?), and did some walking by herself. We skated for at least 1/2 hours maybe longer and then my toes were frozen so I convinced her to come off the ice for a little snack. Tali nursed for longer this time and seemed happier after that. Sometimes she's so distracted that she doesn't eat well and gets crabby. After a bit, we headed back out to skate again. I sent Mike a message to let him know where we were since it was getting close to lunch time. He called back and reminded me of Amanda's dental appointment that was 12:30 pm. It was 11 am. Ooops! We only skated for about 20 more minutes and then headed home.

It was so much fun! I can't wait to go back. Here are the pictures. There are lots because I'm just too tired and excited to decided on my favorites. Have I ever mentioned how much I love skating? I do! I've been dreaming of the day I would be teaching my little girl to skate. Now I have three of them!!!
Amanda is wearing a Lycra swim cap under her hat to protect her hair from her hat rubbing.
Getting up from a fall.

Using the stroller for support.

I couple time I had her sit on the basket as I pushed them all around the rink.

Proof that I was there and wearing skates.

Using the learn-to-skate support.






I don't think the babies were as miserable as they look in the pictures. Tali would laugh and smile when I would skate and spin. I did my best to talk to them and engage them. I was just
happy that nobody was crying. :)





Obsession

Guesss what I did today...

...with all three girls.
Oh yeah! I'm just a little bit crazy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Fun Out There

My mom came to visit on Friday and brought my nephew to play with Amanda. He's two and he and Amanda play so well together. My mom has been coming to visit often since this visit last winter when Amanda didn't really seem to know what to do while sledding or what to do with other kids. That's when she realized just how hard it was for me to get everybody out and about for outdoor activities and play dates. I'm thankful every time she makes the hour and 1/2 trip to come see us and take Amanda outside.

My mom worked on the tunnel that Tyler started.


As I watched her, I thought about how I don't ever remember my mom digging snow forts with us but she must have because we learned it from somewhere.

I thought about how next winter I would be the one out there digging a snow forts while three little ones climbed all over...



...and sliding on top of me because they think it would be funny. Amanda and Tristen each slid down onto my mom a couple of times before she put a stop to that nonsense. :)

Almost done. Grandma's working on breaking through.


Tristen would climb back and forth through the tunnel but Amanda would go through one direction and then run around the hill in order to climb through the tunnel again. What a funny girl!


It's so much fun when my mom brings Tristen for Amanda to play with. They play so well together. At least, until about 2 or 3 pm. Then Amanda naps in her bed and Tristen naps in the car on the way home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Out There

I've been paying Tyler to take Amanda outside when he gets home after school. Usually he takes her for a walk through the neighborhood. She walks some and rides in the sled some. Since it was about 16 degrees F. on Thursday, I told him to stay closer to home in case she got too cold. They were still outside for about 45 minutes.



I love the photo below. I can only imagine what they are saying to each other. Tyler is really good with Amanda. He no longer tries to "be cool" while talking to her. He really speaks nicely to her and at her level. She really enjoys him too.






This pictures aren't the best but that's because it was really dark and I was in here while they were out there. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eight

Eight-

That's how many dirty cloth diapers I had to clean out yesterday. On days like that I don't regret using cloth diapers but I do regret not using elimination communication when they were smaller. Now, I know there is just no way I could have done it. It's easy to pretend I could have now, but that's because I have already forgotten what it feels like to be on the verge of puking for eight months (Except last Monday when I was sick. Then I remembered--briefly.)

I've put Christiana on the toilet occasionally and occasionally she's eliminated, but the thought of going through the potty training process does not appeal to me. I'd like to try the early potty training but it involves letting the baby run around naked. Things are way too chaotic for that.

Tyler's got Amanda outside for a walk right now. Yeah!

Tali's napping.

Christiana's in her bed but she's not napping.

Amanda cried for another hour in the car today. Then she fell asleep while I was preparing lunch for her. Perhaps because she wouldn't go to bed until 11:00 pm last night. And then woke up and 5 am again. She used to be such a good sleeper. I patted myself on the back for effectively sleep training her. And then she was potty trained and everything went down hill from there.

We are all feeling better for the most part. Well, the people in my sphere. The girls still have runny noses. Mike wasn't feeling well again and Tony sounded rough but they can take care of themselves. ;)

I'm going to go have some chocolate and then check on Christiana. Hopefully she hasn't dirtied another diaper.

Whoops! Wrong baby!

Having two babies who are very close to the same age is confusing. Amanda hears, "Whoops! Wrong baby!" so often at the table that she thinks it's my dinnertime mantra that must be said several times at each meal. Since I'm often feeding myself, Christiana and Talitha, I often space out and try to feed one feed the babies the wrong spoonful. Sometimes I catch myself before I do it, but occasionally the look of shock and disgust on Tali's face as I feed her something that's a little too lumpy or a completely new food reminds me.

Until yesterday, I had always said, "Well, at least it wasn't something she wasn't too young to have." Yesterday, she ended up with a mouthful of peanut butter oatmeal. I waited a long time before introducing peanut butter to the other girls and planned especially so with considering my peanut issues. So, far is hasn't seemed to bother her. I still don't plan to make it a regular part of her diet just yet.

In the bathroom, I have devised a plan to keep their tooth brushes and cups separate. After doing Christiana's bedtime routine with Tali one day, I figured it was time for each little girl to have their own cup and brush. We had just bought a new toothbrush for Tali, but hadn't really used a cup with her before so I didn't put one in the bathroom for her. She just opened her mouth politely when I put Christiana's cup up to her lips, but really didn't know what to do with it. I decided that was the day I needed to 1. have a separate cup for each of them and 2. use a cup more often with Tali.

Now with Tony and Tyler it was easy. Tyler has green eyes and Tony has blue so I always bought a blue and green tooth brush. At one point, they wanted different colors but I told, "No it's just too confusing." I'm a mean mama. I know. We tried labeling them but the permanent marker always came off. So, this is my current solution for the girls tooth brushes:

One toothbrush and cup in matching colors for each girl.

And since I'm likely to forget whose color is whose, a guide written in washable crayon on the mirror.
How do you organize the toothbrushes at your house?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Advent Babies

For my dear readers who are struggling with infertility, I am very sorry. I know how hard it is to feel like everyone else is having babies but you. I have often felt bad writing about my pregnancies because I know many of my readers joined the show because we were adopting and assumed to be infertile. Obviously, we are thrilled with our two little surprise babies, but I do feel a little like I got kicked out of club. But please know I am thinking about you!

As I mentioned in my last pregnancy post, I know 10 women who are expecting babies in the next month. The list is up to 13. For my own distraction and entertainment, I want to keep track of them all and when their babies arrive. I am blown away by the numbers and am so thrilled to be a part of this new club. :)

Here they are in order of approximate due dates:

Caitlin-second baby-my friend's oldest daughter-Dec 14-it's a boy. Cael was born Dec 16th!

Heidi-third baby-my cousin's sister-in-law-recovering from a head-on collision about 1 month and 1/2 ago-due Dec 15. Baby boy Samuel was born Dec 5th!

Heather-fifth baby-my neighbor-due Dec 23-it's a boy. Josiah was born on Dec 15th! I happen to have an OB appointment and got to see him when he was just a few hours old. So sweet!!!

Carrie-third baby-my other neighbor-due Dec 23. It's a boy! Mathias was born Dec 20th!

Jess-first baby-hoping the baby will arrive while the daddy is home on military leave-Mike's cousin-Dec 20-it's a girl. Jaylah was born December 19th! Daddy got home on the 18th. Perfect timing!

Amber-tenth baby-we do school with her on Tuesdays-hoping the baby will arrive with enough recovery time befor her oldest daughter's wedding on Jan 7th-it's a boy-due right around Christmas. Baby Nicholas Dec 17th!

Nikki-second baby-my cousin-It's a girl!-due right around Christmas. Aspen was born Dec 22.

Simone-fourth baby-first boy-Mike went to school with her and her husband-due right around Christmas. It's a boy! Damien was born Dec 21st.

Nicole-third baby- due Dec 29-she's been suffering with debilitating back pain-her other two girls are close to Amanda and Ana's ages. It's a girl! Mickey was born Dec 15th!

Danielle--the only woman I don't know in real life-a lovely blog reader with a similar fun mix of adopted and begotten children-due about Dec 28 th. It's a boy! Simon was born Dec 28th!

Angie-second baby-a friend from our old church-it's a boy-due January 10. Blake was born January 7th.

Molly-third baby-classmate from my hometown-due Janaury 10th. It's a boy! Still waiting to hear the name!

Me-fourth or sixth baby depending on who's counting-due January 12.

Other fun numbers: 10 babies due in the last two weeks of December, 6 babies of unknown genders, 5 babies due that live nearby, 5 expected boys, 4 babies expected to be delivered at the same hospital, 3 babies expected in our neighborhood, 3 babies that will be playmates when we move back to our hometown, 2 expected girls, 2 babies planning to be attended by the same doctor.

I think it's really fun and exciting and unusual to have so many friends expecting babies at the same time. It makes Christmas time very exciting indeed. I can't wait for the babies to start arriving! I'll keep updating this post as I receive the announcements of the little ones' arrivals. I wonder if I will hold my place on the list as the last one to deliver...

After Tali's arrival 12 days after my due date, I'm mentally preparing to be pregnant well into January.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Deep Thoughts.. or Not

Amanda has been asking to look at her birth mom book quite often since I first showed it to her. One day, she seemed rather upset at the thought of being in Texas while we were still in Minnesota. "No, I can't got to Texas. I need to stay home with my mom and dad."

Then we got some pictures from her birth mom's family. It was so great to see them. Amanda was confused about the time frame. She thought the pictures were from the same time as the pictures in her birth mom book. I tried to explain that they were recent pictures and they lived in Texas and maybe someday we could go visit them. Again she said, "I can't go to Texas 'cause I'd miss my mom and dad."

Then she mentioned it again while we were making something on the stove. I thought about how she is really processing through this deep stuff and how even though she has no idea where Texas is, the thought of being separated from Mike and I was unsettling for her. I thought about how it was interesting and understandable that being separated from us seems much worst to her than being separated from her birth mom. I thought about how those feelings may change over time. I thought about how we are likely to have many more deep discussions about loss, separation and adoption...

And then she starting talking about elephants and Shea butter.

I guess I have a few more years before there will be any really deep discussions. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reposted From Nicole at Living Absolute

Aurora's beautiful feet in mommy's hands


After venturing out of my safety zone and tiptoeing back out into the “real” world. I noticed. There is a sad misconception in our society. One that I once believed until I watched a stillbirth episode on the TV series ER. I was pregnant with Peyton when I watched it…and I will never forget.

We have a misconception that the loss of a pregnancy is somehow, **just** you know, JUST the loss of a pregnancy. As if “pregnant” was just some word for “extra skin”…

We are visual people by nature and when there is a bump in the belly one day and not the next…it is sometimes viewed more like a “bump” loss than a “baby” loss.

Imagine, if you will, just for a moment…

You are filled with fear. You are noticeably pregnant, grasping your husbands hand, filled with intense sadness… You press the elevator button. You avoid eye contact with anyone that might ask you about your belly bump…your due date, etc.

You exit on the labor and delivery floor. The nurse at the desk asks you to take a seat and *wait*.

*gulp* Wait?

Yes.

Wait.

Like inches from the nursery…with laboring women walking up and down the halls and newborn babies exercising their lungs…

There?

Wait there?

Really?

Yes. There. After all, you are about to GIVE BIRTH. To a baby. You know, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms, 2 legs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth…you know. A human. A baby. A little being that once kicked you in the bladder. Except there will be no cries when the baby is born.

You will be induced. Fully conscious. You will get an IV. You can even have an epidural. It will hurt…like hell. It’s labor. There are contractions. It will hurt. Yes, it will.

You will have one of those break away beds, you know. So you can push the baby out. There will be a cart, filled with all the tools for delivery. A scale to weigh the baby. A tape measure to measure the length. An OB/Gyn, a resident and a nurse. A doula if you are incredibly blessed.

The nurse starts an IV in case you want pain meds…the phlebotomist draws some more blood. You sweat, you moan, you focus on your breathing. You shower, pace and walk the halls. You go into transition. Your cervix dilates. You may scream from the pain of your contractions. Your baby descends.

Finally, your baby is born. Your spouse cuts the cord. Your mommy eyes instantly fall in love with your sweet, beautiful baby. You hold your baby. You love your baby. Your baby may be bathed and swaddled in a blanket. Family and friends may come to see and hold the baby. You are a mommy and daddy.

There are no cries.

But there is a baby. A human. *Your* baby.

You experience most of the joys of birth. And the excruciating pain of a death.

Why is all of this pain necessary? Why can’t they just knock you out and remove the “pregnancy” with some fancy technology? Maybe just zap it out somehow.

What good would that do anyone? To hide it…to make it seem like it never happened. That there was never a baby. That it was just a bump.

Birthing Aurora was one of the most powerful experiences in my life. I will even say it was likely THE single most powerful experience EVER. I decided to fully embrace labor and decline an epidural…which is not an easy decision. Knowing that you will go through all of that pain for what seems like ‘nothing’. But it’s not ‘nothing’. That ‘nothing’ was *something*…she was my daughter. I was able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). This was my plan for Aurora’s birth, so why would I have changed it? Having the birth that I wanted was important…powerful.

Since Aurora’s birth, I have connected with many women that have given birth to silent babies. Some recently, some more than 15 years ago. I keep hearing words like “depression”, “verge of collapse”, “divorce”, “near suicide” and “nervous breakdown”. Seriously crushing stuff. Ugh.

Perhaps if we were not so secretive about the loss of babies that are BIRTHED without the cries… Perhaps if those women could have experienced the same amount of support from friends that helps carry me through these raw days…

Written by Nicole Kurtz

Reading this and the story about Aurora's birth, I can't help but think of the women abort their babies who are about the same age or older than Aurora. How much they suffer in silence physically and emotionally. It breaks my heart. It's what makes the high costs of adoption meaningful. Adoption agencies are getting the word out to women every where that every baby is wanted, that adoption works and there are people willing to help.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If...then...

What happens if you spend a 1/2 hour crying and screaming in your carseat on the way home from town?

You spend 1/2 hours sitting in a carseat when you get home.
In addition to listening to Amanda crying all the way home, Amanda and Christiana took turns crying and fussing on the 1/2 hr. ride to town, and Tali cried during the 1/2 hr. of getting ready to leave the house. Staying home is nice.
(For the record, her hair was neatly tucked in clips, covered with a silky and then under a hat. This is what it looked like by the time we got home.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Seasonal Blogger

These pictures were from a several weeks ago. Aside from dealing with illnesses for the last few weeks, I have been finding it very difficult to get the girls outside to play. Christiana really doesn't like the cold and I have trouble dressing her so she stays warm. I think I just need to hire somebody to take Amanda out to play. Tyler was willing to do it one day and Amanda had a good time.


Snow Angels













All during the day, I think of things to blog about but by the time the house is quiet and the kids are in bed, my brain is fried and I can't form cohesive thoughts. Mike's also been going through a class called Bible Study Methods. It's so great! Many evenings we spend going over the lessons together. I'm so happy he chose a Christian college. Anyway, I'm finding this is a season of less blogging for me and that's okay.