Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sister Sweetness

Oh sure, there is lots of fighting and screaming and hitting and punching that goes on around here but why would I want to remember that stuff? So, of course, I only pull out the camera when they are being so sweet to each other and all is in harmony...at least for the moment.

My neighbor drove by one morning and then called me after she saw the little girls in the window. She said that they were so cute and that I had to snap a picture. I confessed that they were just in their mismatched p.j.'s and would be too embarrassed to post such a photo. But who I am I kidding. During the winter, they are usually dressed like this. If we leave the house, they are covered in warm clothes anyways.

I do dress them up for church. I tend to go with stretchy cotton knit clothing so I thought I would expand their wardrobe with these corduroy dresses that I found at the thrift stores. They are very cute on the hanger. Actually trying to put them on the girls was a bit of a challenge. Stretchy knit is good.

Amanda plays the part of the firstborn* very well. She is the leader and the director of activities. And sometimes the little girls are both happy and willing participants. Like on this night, when she suggested they read a story before bed. She has enough of the story memorized to actually do a pretty good job of holding their attention. So sweet!

Of course, Mom with the camera was a bit distracting. ;)

*Yes, I know Amanda isn't technically the first born, but for all practical purposes, she is my second first born.

On an unrelated note, Amanda can often be heard addressing me as "Mother." Apparently, we read a lot of stories where "Mother" is more common than "Mama" or "Mommy" or "Mom." It always makes me smile.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From Mike, Katie, Tyler, Tony, Amanda, Christiana, Talitha and Baby #6!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the IRS

I knew we had gotten off too easy. Sure, our tax refund was a bit delayed and we wondered if it would ever arrive, but we did receive our full adoption tax refund last April. A wonderful blessing that we used to promptly payoff the amount we had refinanced for Christiana's adoption. I felt a little guilty because there were/are adoptive families in greater need whose refund was greatly delayed and some have yet to see the money. There were many horror stories of families being billed and fined and charged ridiculous amounts in error. I could hardly believe we had escaped unscathed.

Well, we didn't. Today in the mail among the lovely Christmas greeting cards was the dread IRS letter requesting more information because they were examining our return. Merry Christmas to us. And we need to get them all the information within 30 days of the date of the letter.

So, on a night when many parents are wrapping presents or baking cookies, I'm digging through the last five years of taxes and adoption paperwork trying to find proof that may be acceptable to the IRS that we did, in fact, spend as much money on adoptions as we claimed to.

Thankfully, Mike is off for the next three days so I can get it all put together to be mailed right away before everything gets lost in new baby oblivion. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

36 Weeks

No snow and 45 degrees F. I am not complaining!

Christmas Program

We've been attending a new church for the last couple of months. It's the one that's closer to home and has lots of kids. On Sunday, Amanda and Christiana participated in the Christmas program. We've been singing the songs at home and Amanda and Ana know all of them but wouldn't sing when we were at church. Finally, a week ago, at our first practice on the stage, the music leader had the little girl who was leading "Away in the Manger" sing the first verse all by herself. She's about two years older than Amanda and Amanda was so impressed to hear her sing all by herself that she finally started singing with the other kids.

Of course, she still wouldn't go up on stage without me and Ana wouldn't leave my side so I planned to sit up there next to the younger kids. Amanda sang and had a good time. Ana never sang while she was up there and some last minute changes left her without a chair and a sign to hold so that was upsetting for her but she recovered pretty well.

After the program, I tried to get a few pictures for the girls in their costumes. Seriously, these were the best ones. They were pretty excited and squirrelly.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Not Just One More...

The third trimester has been rough. Winter has set in. I'm in a lot of pain. Everything takes a long time. We can't spend hours outside. Getting out for activities and buckling everybody in the car is a real challenge. When we do get some where to do something fun, I end up with three little girls clinging to me trying to climb on my ever-shrinking lap.

I hit a wall last Tuesday, as I was pulling out of the driveway, (finally), on my way to do homeschool project day with my friend Amber. I am so ready to be done being pregnant, but I am not at all ready to be caring for a newborn. Do you know how much time they take? Whew! And I think it takes a long time to get out the door now.

And then...

And then on Thursday morning, after my O.B. appointment, I was able to go over to the hospital and hold little tiny baby Josiah who was only a couple of hours old. Ahhhhh.... So sweet! And then it hit me.

There's a baby in there. A sweet, special, magical little person to fall in love with. A new little face and personality that will bring unknown joy and surprises to our family. It's not just one more mouth to feed, one more butt to wipe, one more body to bath and dress, one more carseat to buckle; it's a baby!

Yep, I think I'm ready to make the transition from cranky pregnant lady to blissfully sleep-deprived new mama. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Talk to Little Girls

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook and I had to share it.


It's about resisiting the urge to start a conversation with a girl by talking about her looks. I remember when Amanda was only a few months old, it made me uncomfortable how many comments were about her hair. Now granted, she was the first baby I had that actually had any hair and I've since come to realize how I frequently comment about little babies hair, too. However, at the time it made think that perhaps there was some real value in the Biblical practice of having women cover their heads.

My concern had more to do with Amanda's adoption and how having people mention her hair (or skin) upon the first meeting would be a constant reminder to her that she was different from us and didn't "fit in."

Now with three little girls, I notice how some one will compliment Amanda's hair but not Christiana's. That won't go unnoticed for long.

I guess it's a good thing nine months out of the year require hats around here. And come to think of it, I'm pretty diligent about having them wear sun hats in the summer because I hate sunscreen, so we should be good for a few years anyways. ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Remembering Aurora Marie

It's been a year since my friend Nicole gave birth to her stillborn daughter Aurora. I know it's been a tough year for them and they are looking forward to the new year with hope and trepidation. Hope that they will welcome a new baby in July and trepidation as they remember how much loss hurts. Hugs, Nicole! I wish I could have been there with you tonight.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


If you have toddlers helping you unload the silverware...

Then your silverware drawer will look like this:

BUT...your toddlers would have been thoroughly occupied for at least five minutes. That's just enough time to unload the rest of the dishwasher in peace. :)

34 Weeks

So close yet so far. Six weeks to go. Give or take. You know how babies are.

I have to laugh when people say, "Wow! This pregnancy has gone by so fast!" Ha! I'm glad it's gone by so quickly for YOU! :)

I've been feeling pretty good considering. Oats have been giving me heartburn which makes me very sad but not eating apple crisp and granola by the pan should keep the weight gain at bay. I've already gained 40 lbs. I think that's plenty. I know the baby needs to put on weight in the next few weeks but there is plenty of extra in my thighs and butt.

I've been doing more exercising the evening inside since it's getting more difficult to move outside. I just do about 20 minutes of random exercises that I remember from P90X. There are plenty of things I can do to move and stretch and strengthen.

Mike and Amanda are enjoying "playing" with the baby. The little baby's movements are so visible and frequent. They have a good time poking and rubbing the baby and feeling the baby kick back. Mike asked if he had ever played with the baby before. I said probably not because I was so sick. It's only mildly annoying when he does it now instead of nausea inducing.

I know ten people (in real life) who are expecting babies between December 15th and January 15th. That seems like a big number. It must have been an extra special Lenten season. :)

Being pregnant over Christmas certainly brings new awareness to Mary's uncomfortable situation of having to travel by donkey to Bethlehem. I'm not planning to travel for 1 1/2 hr back home because it's uncomfortable. (What a whiner I am!)

We have talked about names a little bit. For some reason, we find it more fun to wait until the delivery room or afterwards to decide. So far, Monterey Jack and Colby were a couple of the top choices for boys. Ha! Can you tell when we were doing when we thought of those ones? I mentioned a few of my favorite girls names last night and Mike said, "No, we need to stick with the three syllable names." As the filler-outer of forms and paperwork, I'm putting an end to that rule!

Sometimes I ponder with amazement that fact that I am actually pregnant...again...after waiting and hoping and praying for so long. I try to put myself back in that place and remember what it was like to envy pregnant women. I'm anxious to be holding this little
baby in my arms but know I should be savoring this time right now.

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I'm thankful for every day of growth the little girls have before they are faced with another little person wanting my time and attention. Sometimes, I think they would just really like more room on my lap. :)