February 21, 2010

Knit Knit Purl Purl

I'm taking a knitting class! Yes, you heard right! I have been wanting to take one for years. My brother actually purchased a Knitting for Dummies book years ago and I just couldn't figure it out. Hilarious, I know. So I thought the Y offered some knitting classes and asked a few months ago and the guy at the counter laughed at me. Seriously, he laughed at me.
Brandon brought home a local college's catalog of non-credit classes, and alas a knitting class! I put it off and put it off, until a friend of mine offered to take it with me. So here I am, almost done with my knitting class and I almost have my class project complete. A 16x16 pillow. I know, what a horrible project. But hey, my teacher and my classmates have about 30 years on me, so knitted pillow it is.
In my spare time, since I have so much of it (sarcasm attached), I knitted a headband and flower, and a wash cloth. I really like making the flowers and have all kinds of patterns to learn. I'm hoping to graduate to some booties and a really cool hat soon. Just in time for spring. But hey, I'll get a head start on next year.

February 15, 2010

Cat Daddy!

Miles had a date. We took him to his first dance! The recreation center had an all age Valentines Day dance and Mr. Miles took his friend Christa. It was too cute. He told me that Christa would think he was a Daddy because he had on a Daddy Hat! Too funny! So here he his, Mr. Cat Daddy!

February 13, 2010

Marley at Nine Months

My sweet girl. Sweet sweet baby girl! Happy Nine Months Marley!
Marley has learned so many new things this month! She's such a phenomenal little blessing. It's so crazy to think of the lives we would have lived without her. It's unfathomable. Thank you God for this child, this child that we have prayed for.
At Nine Months, Marley:
  • Cut her first tooth
  • Started scooting (the army crawl)
  • Claps her hands
  • Raises her hands in the air (on command...lol)
  • Eats, oh my how she eats!
  • Started feeding herself, she's starting to learn to pinch her fingers together
  • Weighs 16 lbs! She's gained 3 lbs in 2 1/2 months!
Marley's favorite foods are apples and blueberries, prunes, corn, chicken noodle soup and avocados. Oh how she loves avocados! Just like my Miles baby!
She gets weighed in a few days and I can't wait to see how big my baby is. I look at her and can't believe how much she has grown in a little over 2 months. I would always hear how children would just blossom once they got home and received love and stability. I can say that I have personally witnessed this. Marley's hair is growing in, she's filling out. Her personality is just shining. My sweet pea!

February 11, 2010

Marley and her Friends

We have been attending some play dates with Miss Marley. Okay, so I have been taking her to play dates while Brandon is at work and Miles is at school. She's becoming very curious. Last week, we played at her friend Stella's house. Stella is a month younger than Marley. Owen is almost a year. They played so well together. Marley, the talker that she is, didn't make a peep until about an hour of playing. She has to warm up, then she really gets going!
This week, Marley got to meet Ari. Ari just came home a few weeks ago and is just a ham. ADORABLE! He is two months younger than Marley. She was all over Ari. Since she's started scooting, she feels like she has more independence and I suppose she was trying to teach Ari the ropes...lol. Marley would take Ari's binki out of his mouth and try to trade with him. She wanted the blue and thought he might want the pink. I suppose she's getting tired of all the pink. She was taking toys out of his hands. Bossy, that Miss Marley...lol. They had a great time. We listened to an Ethiopian children's CD my good friend Justine gave Marley. It was too cute!

Here is Marley trying to give Ari a kiss. This girl....lol! Of all her friends, her brother Miles is her best friend! He can't wait to play with her everyday. The first question he asks when he gets off the school bus is, "is Marley awake?" He rolls around on the floor, reads to her, plays peek-a-boo and sings to her.
I love my kids!

February 3, 2010

She's Loves Me!!!

And I absolutely LOVE it! Miss Marley is doing wonderful! She's becoming so attached to me, and it's just such an amazing and monumental thing. I rarely hear many adoptive families talk about the attachment or bond, or lack thereof, with their adoptive child. Admitting that things may not be right can be hard. While at the same time, the boding process goes very smoothly for some families and not so with others. Ours has been pretty smooth. When Marley first came into our arms, she was hesitant. The best way to explain it would be to imagine your child, your baby being taken away and parented by a stranger. Marley is a happy, social baby. She gave us smiles and laughs from the moment she placed into our arms. She did, however, hold back on love. She really didn't know what to do when we wanted to hold her and kiss on her for hours on end. She didn't like to be held to often and would resist being too close. I'm not sure she had formed any kind of attachment before.
For me, I feel like it's easier to identify any non-attachment issues because I have an attached child. I've heard of first time adoptive parents having the mother's intuition as well. Over the past two months, Marley has definitely become a Mama's girl. She wines for me when I leave her sight, or when someone else is holding her near me. She snuggles into my chest and loves to give me kisses. She seeks me out when she is tired, hurt or in an unfamiliar place. I am simply happy. We had some really good quality Mommy & Marley time today. Gosh, this little girl is just such an amazing gift. I'm so glad she has come into our lives. She loves me, she really loves me!
Today was the day I realized that Marley considers me her Mommy! Today. We had some playtime, just us. I realized that we have so many games that just her and I get. She thinks I'm hilarious. She needs me, as her comforter, her nurturer, her guide, her teacher, her Mommy. As I was getting her ready for bed I fed her a bottle, she was cradled in my arms, her eyes closing and opening. The grunting noises she makes while drinking her bottled made me smile. She paused to make sure I was still there, took the bottle out of her mouth, and gave me the biggest smile. She squinted her eyes, scrunched up her nose and just let me absorb the beauty of her happiness. I held her tightly, pulled her up to my face and gave her Eskimo kisses, she gave me a belly laugh in return. The smell of baby, my baby is just perfect. I have loved this girl for years. For years, I waited for this day, the day that she loves me back!

February 2, 2010

Some Lesson's I have Learned

I'm a work in progress. I'm on a journey, and while I have come a long way, I still have a way to go. I am learning to never say never. You never know where life will take you, what your destiny will be.
Prior to meeting the love of my life and my husband, yes they are both the same person, I said I would never marry a man younger than me. I always thought I would eventually marry a man who was older than me. And I had recently proclaimed all, let me say this again, ALL Navy men were dogs. I vowed not to date a Navy man again. When Brandon and I met, we were three years apart in age. I know three years isn't that much, but when I was almost 23 and Brandon was only 19 that was a big difference. I was about to graduate from college and Brandon had kinda just graduated high school and he was in the Navy. We both fell madly in love pretty quickly and wanted to elope after two weeks. My point is, had I stuck to my guns and refused to "never" date a man younger than me and never to date another Sailor, I would have never given Brandon a chance. I had always dreamed of the Godly man my future husband would be and the amazing father would would be like, my own father, and love me and our children unconditionally. Thank God I did get the Godly husband and outstanding father to my children. I learned that the man God had intended for me to marry had been Brandon and that being stubborn about my ideals was not godly.
Before we had children, I envisioned the type of mother I would be. I was going to breastfeed, be a stay at home mom, we would co-sleep, I would have my children in all kinds of activities and sports from day one. I even silently judged mothers who didn't breast feed, co-sleep or stay at home. I couldn't understand why a mother would choose not to breast feed. Why a family would push a baby away from them in their own room after they had grown inside a womb for 9 months and were used to closeness. Or why, if the chance was available, would a mother go back to work instead of care for her children. Boy did all of those ideas go out the window.
I wanted to stay home. I always had known that being a wife and a mother was the reason I had been placed on this earth. More than anything, I wanted to fulfill that dream. When I was pregnant with Miles, I dreamed of all the play dates we would have and the Mommy and Me swimming lessons. His time came, he was born. I was on maternity leave. I couldn't imagine going back to work. But then I soon realized that this cute little baby was driving me crazy. He cried all the time, he wouldn't sleep. It was not making me a good person. Soon, all I could think about was going back to work. Before you judge me, hear this. The lesson I learned is that you never, NEVER, know someone elses circumstances. As much as you think you might know, you never truly do. I went back to work because it made me a better mother to Miles and a better wife to Brandon. I did it because it was what was best for our family.
Now just a few short months later I felt an overwhelming calling to quit my job and stay at home. I obeyed and am glad I did. It seemed I needed those few months. During our adoption journey, I took on some jobs to help pay for our adoption. In our house, we believe that it is the husbands role to provide for the family. It is not everyone's belief, but it is ours, it works for us. What may be right for our family, does not mean that it is right for all. I took a job because I believe that my role is to be my husbands help mate. The stress to pay for our adoption was a lot. It was not fair, in my opinion, to leave that solely on him. It made sense. So how can I judge families with working moms? How can I truly know all of their circumstances? How fair is it of me to think that I know what is best for them? Mothers go back to work for many many reasons and that is their families business. How can I know their circumstances or criticize them for it?
Breastfeeding is something I always thought was so beautiful. So natural. I thought I would be one of those mothers who nursed for years...lol! When Miles was born, I tried, oh I tried. I sought out the counsel of La Leche people, Nursing consultants, Nurses, Doctors. I was one of those women who couldn't breastfeed. It was devastating. Miles had jaundice and I had very little milk. I couldn't feed him. I remember sitting on my bed, feeding Miles with an eye dropper so he wouldn't get used to a bottle nipple. I tried so hard. I cried. Then finally, I accepted it. I would be one of those mothers that formula fed. Once I truly accepted it, it was relieving. I was formula fed and I turned out fine. I let it go and let Brandon help. Boy was that nice. I also let go of my preconceived notion that all mothers must breastfeed. Who am I to judge? The thing is you never know the situation. I started meeting other formula feeding mothers and I learned that there are many many reasons a mother chooses or resorts to formula feeding. Most obvious is the lack of milk supply or other issues with letting down, etc.. Single mothers may formula feed because they have no help and work and for them, it's easier. Some mothers had husbands who aren't supportive. Some are on heavy medications and it's not safe. Some mothers work and have to work long hours and it's difficult to pump and wake several times at night. Some children were adopted. Whatever the reason, it's their reason. It doesn't affect my family so I learned to not jump to conclusions.
After I started formula feeding, I remember being at a playdate with little Miles and needing to run and get something and handing Miles to a friend with his bottle. She looked at me and said, "I don't know how to feed a baby a bottle, all of my babies were breastfed." Are you kidding me? I would get pity party looks and comments on how breast milk was best for him. That's when I learned that I know what is best for my baby and my family. How could others know my situation. I have heard it all and the most disturbing thing is hearing a breast feeding mother say that watching a mother bottle feed her child is disgusting. Really? Disgusting? What disgusts me is when mothers start judging other mothers. Lets all be on the same team. We are mothers. We, most of us, want what's best for our children. And sometimes formula is what is best for our children. It sure beats starvation.
A fellow formula feeding mother once told me about those studies that state that breastfed babies have higher IQ's and lower immune systems. She brought up a great point. She said that the studies that show that breastfed babies have higher IQ's is not accurate. That, typically, breastfeeding mothers are stay at home mothers . Typically, stay at home mothers are more involved in the education of their children. So therefore, parents that are more involved in their child's learning have children with higher IQ's. While not all breastfeeding mothers stay at home and all stay at home mothers are more involved in their child's education, she did make a good point. I understand, breastmilk is natural and is the best thing for babies. However, there are alternatives, and the use of them should be the business of their families, not others. Okay, I know that is going to be a controversial argument. I just had to say that in my own experience, judging a mother who doesn't breastfeed has made me eat my own words. I became one of those mothers who had and chose to formula feed. I did what I thought best for my children and I am so glad I did. It has made me a better mother. Besides, I'd like to test my child's IQ against any breastfed child's IQ any day....lol!
Co-Sleeping...another hot topic amongst mothers. I truly thought that both of our children would co-sleep. The thought of a child growing in my womb or growing away from me for so long, and then to push them away in their own crib and in another room, seemed harsh. I wanted my babies with me, I wanted to be able to comfort them all through the night. Well...Miles was a true test of sanity, for us. We were new parents, and Miles was a very demanding baby. Miles was born just about a year after some close friends of ours lost their 13 month old child to SIDS. I was a nervous wreck. I wanted him to sleep with us, but I was scared I would smother him. I would put him in is own crib and every little noise from the baby monitor would wake me and if it didn't I would wake up to check on him to make sure he was still breathing. If I couldn't tell, I would poke him until I could see him move and then he'd wake up and the cycle started all over again. Sleep was something our family did very little of when Miles was a baby. I do think it had a lot to do with me wanting to go back to work. Having him in the bed with us made it difficult for all of us to sleep. We tried, we really did. It was not the right fit for our family. It is great for others, but not ours. When Miles started sleeping in is own crib in his own room, he got more sleep and we got more sleep. He was happier and we were happier and better parents. I learned that judging a mother who chooses not to co-sleep is foolish. That mother knows something that I wish I knew before I had Miles...lol. Choosing not to co-sleep made me a better mother and a lot better wife...haha!
I could go on and on about the lessons I have learned as a wife and a mother, but the point is that I have learned to take my own preconceived notions of a mother and understand that mothers and families are all made differently. What works for one mother doesn't work for another. In the end, I believe that we all do want what is best for our children, and no matter how much I don't understand, the way another mother parents her child IS the best way for her!