Transitions

We FINALLY did it.  We transitioned the kids from their cribs to their toddler beds.  I think we pushed it further than most, but why mess with a good thing?  Even though they could climb out, they didn’t and there is something nice about knowing they will be where you left them.   All good things must come to an end, though.

When the time came, I explained to both what a big responsibility this is and that they still have to stay in their beds until Mommy or Daddy come to get them.  They nodded yes with excitement and I proceeded to take the side rails off their beds.  They were more than excited and proceeded to play in their beds for the next hour.  At one point in time, Grant looked at me and told me that I needed to leave and shut the door so he could get some rest.  I obeyed and after shutting the door, I heard it lock.  I feared more shenanigans.  Our conversation about responsibility now included not locking the door.

First bedtime went remarkably well, however, at 1:30 in the morning, I heard the following things:

A thud

A cat attempting to get purchase on the wood floor

Maria crying

Jeremy bounding up the steps from the basement

Yes, she flopped herself right out.  Honestly we weren’t surprised, considering she is never sleeping in a conventional manner and flops around like a fish.  Thankfully, she only had about a foot to fall, so no injuries were sustained and the cat eventually recovered from her fright of things that go thump in the night.

Jeremy said Grant rolled out later that night, but I didn’t hear it, so it must not have been as eventful.  We have now invested in mesh side rails to help prevent and will be useful when they go to their next “big kid” beds, which I imagine will be sooner than later.

They are taking their responsibility quite well and might be motivated by getting a Glow Pet at the end of this first week if they continue to do well.  Grant told me “I need a Glow Pet so I won’t be afraid of the dark.”  Never mind the two night lights illuminating their room.

This seems like one of the last true transitions from babyhood.  Hard to believe they will be four in less than 6 months.  Hopefully, Grant will have discovered an interest in potty training by then!

I LOVE FALL!!

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I love the pumpkins, the weather, the fall decorations.  Everything!  I love wearing sweaters, hats, scarves, and boots with skirts.  I especially love pumpkin patches and hayrides.  It’s no wonder fall is the favorite time of the year for many people.  There is so much to look forward to after a long hot summer.

My Aunt Diane and a family friend came up for a visit from Alabama this week.  They wanted to see the changing of the leaves.  Josh and I took them to Boone, NC for the day for some sight seeing and shopping.  The next day I drove them around our area for some more sight seeing.  I have a small antique booth where I resale items as a hobby.  They wanted to see the antique store where I have my booth, so we did some shopping in town.

I enjoyed their visit.  I love Tennessee living, I just wish we didn’t live so far from most of our family.  However, we get to experience all four seasons, unlike growing up in Alabama, where it is hot, then it’s hot some more.  After my family headed home, I got busy looking for Halloween costumes.  John Luke is going to be a puppy dog for his first Halloween.   The trial run in his costume didn’t go so well.  Unlike his mama, he doesn’t like to wear hats and faux fur!  I will post Halloween pics next week if we make it out of the house without him trying to peel it off:)

Here are a few pics from our sight seeing trip.

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The Purple Dinosaur Conundrum

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had some preliminary discussion and shopping for Halloween costumes and Maria had convinced Grant that they would both be purple dinosaurs.  I confirmed this with them two nights in a row.  Several days later, I finally got opportunity to order their sizes for in-store pickup at Walmart.  I was NOT pleased when I discovered that purple dinosaurs were no longer available.  I was frustrated and felt like I needed to get the bad mom award for waiting a couple of days.  The only thing available was blue and I knew I couldn’t order without Maria’s permission.  Jeremy’s mom checked her Walmart and only saw blue and agreed that we needed Maria’s permission to move forward.

Jeremy said not to worry because they had said they wanted to be super heroes earlier that day.  Maybe I wasn’t going to be a bad mom after all.  Fast forward two weeks.  Maria was consistently saying she wanted to be a superhero and Grant wanted to be a spider.  That is until our neighbor, Megan, said she was going to be a cat, then Maria said she also wanted to be a cat.  This was getting complicated.

The day came to purchase and we went to a local novelty shop to look.  When we were there, Maria spotted a unicorn – a pink sparkly unicorn.  Now she wanted to be a unicorn.  It was too big and too expensive, so I was plotting how to get out of this without a meltdown.  Grant still wanted to be a spider, but we couldn’t find any, so I had to do it.  We had to go to Walmart.  On a Friday night.

Both kids looked around excitedly.   Grant was having issues making a decision and Maria wouldn’t make a decision until she saw his decision.  She must have gotten tired of waiting, because we came across a unicorn – not a pink sparkly one – but a unicorn and she was interested.  She was inspecting this when I found a cow and a blue dinosaur.  I was tired and ready for a decision and asked him to pick.  Blue dinosaur it was!  At this point, Maria fully committed to the unicorn.  Both were thrilled and Maria picked out a pink tiara headband to go with hers.

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They have been wearing their costumes every day since and Maria blinged out her unicorn with a tiara and a skirt.  I’m glad they are enjoying and hope they still like their decisions next week!   They may not be purple dinosaurs, but they are happy!

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RACE FOR THE CURE

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John Luke and I were members on my friends team for the Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure, breast cancer walk this weekend.  My friend is a breast cancer survivor.  She is also my friend who graciously donated her eggs to Josh and me for an IVF cycle,  which did not result in pregnancy.  This is why I lovingly refer to her as “Baby Mama”.

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We came across the NEDC during the process of researching for this donor cycle.

My friend’s motto is, “Everything happens for a reason.”  I agree, it is because of her generosity we were led to the NEDC, and now have John Luke.  She defines being a “survivor”.  She is a fighter.  Her positive attitude has inspired so many people during her journey with breast cancer.  She has been a rock, unwavering in her resolve to not let it get her down.

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Having had both breast removed during two separate surgeries, 6 months of intense chemo, and after losing all her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, she has never once complained.  She has never said, “Why me”?  She’d discovered she had Stage II breast cancer after going for a routine mammogram.  I believe she just feels so grateful the cancer was caught early, and she will be around to watch her little girl grow up.

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We had perfect fall weather for the walk with friends and family coming out to support Kim.  We wore matching black shirts with hot pink lettering and pink tutu’s, of course!    We had lots of reasons to celebrate.  As of now Kim is cancer free, is almost through with her treatments, and her final surgery will be in December!

John Luke by herself Tutu Girl

I hope to be more like my friend Kim.  Go inspire someone today.

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Why is a Family Assessment (Home Study) Recommended for Embryo Adoption?

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Many people view embryo donation and adoption as a medical procedure rather than an adoption family-building option. When examining the process of receiving embryos from another family a little more closely, it mimics the traditional domestic adoption process with many of the very same issues. Because receiving embryos from another family is the result of a great gift from one family that is unknown to the other family, it is important to prepare the receiving family through the process of an adoptive family assessment.
Families may dread and fear the adoptive family assessment process. However, by considering that the overall purpose of a family assessment is to prepare the family for a child to join the family and to assure that this family is ready in every way to parent a child, hopefully these families will grow more confident through the process. Also, by working with an adoption agency for this service, the donor family is assured that this particular family is ready in every way to parent and meet this child’s needs in every way.
Rightfully so, many adoptive families are discouraged because families who are able to have children naturally are not required to complete a family assessment. Social workers who serve these families desire very much that the process is helpful and a learning experience for the families.
A family assessment is a means by which a family has the opportunity to think through their preparedness to add a child or children to their family, discuss with a trained social worker their strengths and limitations and receive feedback as to their readiness to parent. Each family is unique and may not recognize all that they have to offer a child through adoption. By considering their family situation from a relationship, stability and financial point of view, the family builds confidence that they are ready to parent a child.
Additionally, it is so important to be aware and ready to parent a child that is not their genetic child, but a child of their hearts. With embryo adoption, there is the blessing of a pregnancy with the adopted child or children. It is a time to fall in love with the baby (or babies) that they are carrying and for the families to realize that they are as prepared as they can be to the parents of these wonderful bundles of joy!

AN ORDINARY LIFE

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I don’t have a fancy title or lofty career goals. My current job description reads “Stay-at-home mom to John Luke”. I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s really all I ever wanted to do. I remember while studying business administration in college, a guy friend asked me what I wanted to be (probably when I grow up!). I replied, “Well, I’m studying Marketing and Logistics, but I would really like to one day be a stay at home mom.” He was a mere friend/co-worker, but if he’d had any interest in dating, I’m sure I scared him off really quick.

But, it’s the truth. It’s not that I didn’t have goals. It’s just that my mom was a working single mom. I spent a lot of time home alone. My brother started working when he was 16, I was 14. Mom worked two jobs so she was gone many nights. When my brother worked evenings, it would get lonely fixing myself supper and doing my homework.

It made me responsible. However, I craved the life my friends had, like being home together with their families, and sitting around the dinner table talking about their day. I wanted someone to say, “Go do your homework.” I wanted someone to be there to ask me about my day, and remind me to do my chores. I wanted someone there to talk to.

I worked for many years in my field before “retiring” to be a stay at home mom. Sometimes, I have missed the professional world, and have wondered what it would be like to have a career again. Cleaning and picking up all day after a toddler, myself and my DH, is often a thankless job. I remind myself there are working moms, like my mother, who have to work all day, then come home and work inside the home.

Being a “Stay-at-home mom” is all I really ever wanted to do. I have an ordinary, but more often than not, fulfilling and extraordinary life, when you put it in perspective.

Five things I’ve learned living with the in-laws

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1. Brae and Sienna miss “home.” They keep asking when they will go “home.” I keep telling them we don’t have a home right now. Sure, I could get into a theological engagement with them about how home is where your heart is, blah blah blah. They are 4 and 2. I’m not.

2. Naps are nice. Very nice. When you are shacking up with another family, there’s not a lot of “honey-do” items for you to do. It’s not your house. You have to know your place. So, we take lots of naps instead.

3. VCRs and tapes still really do come in handy. They are more durable and scratch-resistant than DVDs. My in-laws have VCRs. And lots of tapes. I like them.

4. I’m a lot more low-maintenance than I thought. I’ve packed my socks in some box that is now in a POD somewhere miles away. No big deal. I can wear the same socks a couple, three, four, ok, five times in a row. Don’t judge.

5. We are very blessed to have this as an option. It sure beats the Holiday Inn.

I’m a mom

Let me preface this post by stating that I am I have never been overly high maintenance nor have I been someone who updates my wardrobe every year to keep up with the latest and greatest style.  I tend to wear clothes that are more classic in nature and don’t tend to draw a lot of attention to myself with clothing, jewelry or nails.

I just got a haircut and while I was there I had to laugh.  It been 13 weeks since my last cut and needed to remove a medium sized dog rather than the small dog I normally have removed from my head.   The conversation went something like this:

Stylist: what type of shampoo do you use?

Me: Umm, Suave

Stylist (choking slightly): What kind?  For any particular hair type?

Me: Umm, I don’t know.  It’s in a green bottle.

Stylist: What kind of product do you use?

Me:  Just something to tame my frizz so I don’t get big headed.

At this point, she gave up.  Seriously, there are certain things that I just don’t pay that close attention to.  As long as my hair is clean and not sticking out at odd angles, I’m not that concerned. There was a day that I purchased expensive styling products and got pedicures on a regular basis….but that was before I was a mom.  I might get highlights done twice a year if the budget allows, but find it hard to justify the expense sometimes.

There were days when I would think about paying full price for clothes, but today that really isn’t an option.  Target clearance rack is perfectly acceptable and I admittedly bought a shirt at the Magic Mart during my last trip to Norton, VA.  One of my co-workers cannot wait for me to wear it as she is certain that it will be obvious that it was $9.99 at Magic Mart.  Maybe it will be…but I don’t really mind… I’m a mom.

And while I am a mom… I won’t be caught wearing “mom jeans.”

MOVING

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We sold our house a month ago.

In one day. For above asking. So, we asked for more. And they accepted. We hadn’t even put our sign up yet.

I guess you can say that God was telling us to get the heck out of our house.

We had been thinking about it for a while – moving to a neighboring suburb with fantastic schools, and closer to friends and family.

We had no idea it would happen so fast.

We had not bought another house.

I had many mental breakdowns in the first week after we sold. Where were we going to live?

So, then we started looking.

We made an offer on House #1. 1970s. Half acre. Colonial. Needed some updating. We made them an offer. They countered. We countered. I got cold feet. We rescinded.

Lot of money, and still a lot of work.

So then we made an offer on House #2. 1970s. Awesome neighborhood. Dutch Colonial. Needed lots of updating. We made them an offer. They countered. We accepted. Inspection time came. Lots of problems – radon, sewer, etc. We asked them to repair half of what the inspection suggested. They basically said no, and that they were done negotiating. Take it or leave it.

We left it.

We made an offer on House #3. 2008. Traditional. Move-in ready. We made them an offer. They countered. We countered. They accepted. Inspection tomorrow. Praying nothing major.

We have to be out of our house on Wednesday. From start to finish, it will be 32 days since the day we sold our house. That is very fast.

The new house won’t be ready until end of October. So, we’ll be living with my in-laws for a few weeks.

After sleeping on a blow-up mattress, in a sleeping bag, and eating out of tupperware dishes, I’m extremely excited to move in with them.

Brae and Sienna have been amazing – with all the houses we’ve toted them around to – telling them to “go pick out their bedroom” in each one. They’ve picked out about 8 bedrooms now. They probably have no idea which house is actually theirs, at this point.

But, they don’t care. They just want us to make tunnels out of all the spare boxes in the house, eat lots of take out and pizza, and move in with Grammy and Guapo for a while.

I miss being a kid.