Wednesday, February 7, 2018

One Small Step...

for Isabella, one giant leap toward becoming a big kid!  I knew it was coming, but it kind of came out of nowhere.  I had all three kids and was sitting with one of them near Isabella who was playing at the activity table.  All of the sudden she just let go of the activity table and took two tiny steps in my direction before plopping down on her butt. 

THIS is why I have made the choices I have made.  THIS is why I go without new clothes.  THIS is why we will live in this house with the tiny upstairs for the foreseeable future.  THIS is why I am ok budgeting like a miser.  THIS is why I am ok with working well past the age of 65 because my retirement savings is pitiful and won't get any better in the near future. 

THIS is likely one of the many reasons God's plan laid out the way it did, so that THIS could be an option. 

I am so blessed to be in a position that THIS could be an option for me. 

I would not trade THIS for anything.

Attitude Adjustment

I'd like to tell you it's the toddler I watch that needs the attitude adjustment, but sadly that's not the case.  The one in need of the attitude adjustment is me.

This morning I was cranky and honestly I couldn't tell you why.  In fact I didn't realize just how cranky I was until lunchtime. 

Lunchtime is the one time of the day I let the dogs roam free in the house during child care days because all of the kids are in high chairs.  The dogs want to be where we are so they are of course in the dining room.  This used to work well for the most part.  There was the time I realized the toddler's high chair was too close to the couch because our older dog realized if she sat on the back of the couch she had a better angle at potentially sharing the toddler's lunch, but once I made that minor adjustment we were good to go.   The other two kids were just eating purres so the dogs had no interest, so the dogs would hang out nearby but there was really no interaction.  However, now all three kids are eating varying degrees of finger foods so the potential puppy smorgasbord has tripled and at least ONE of the kids wants to help these puppies out any way she can.

Isabella LOVES hand delivering bits of her food to the dogs.  At first she would laugh hysterically which immediately gave her away if I was distracted with another kiddo, but now she just grins so it's sometimes harder to catch.  The other two kids are less direct and morsels of food only fall from their tray by accident.  However, monitoring Isabella has become like a full time job at lunch.  When I keep the dogs in the kitchen (which is their homebase) they can see us at the table and whine and cry pitifully which is sooo annoying.

 For some reason at lunch today this exchange became too much and I came pretty dang close to yelling (it was directed at the dogs and not the kids if that helps at all).  I took a deep breath and we got through the rest of the meal, but I couldn't shake the dark cloud over my mood. 

Then suddenly phrase popped into my head:

I immediately opened the gratitude journal app on my phone.  I downloaded it a couple of years ago and used it daily for about 6 months then when we started into the summer of IVF I got out of the habit.  I started again on January 1, but hadn't opened it for the day yet.  Honestly it was kind of like magic.  I jotted down a couple of positives about the day and immediately felt better.  

Isn't it amazing that such a little thing that is so easy to do makes such a big impact?  Isn't it equally amazing how quickly we forget?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Weekend Update

Leap 7 continues to strike fear in our hearts.  Ok, tad dramatic, but Leap 7 continues to keep life shall we say interesting at our house.

On Friday, my friend Amy brought her kids over to play with Isabella and A.  As soon as Amy walked into the playroom Isabella melted ALL the way down.  I guess she thought Amy had come to babysit:(.  So she was totally clingy (despite playing JUST FINE before they got here) until she got up from her nap and they were gone.  

Her beautiful 1.5-2 hours naps also appear to be a thing of the past.  They have now been replaced with a one hour nap and a 40 minute nap.  This is cool AS LONG AS she sleeps more at night.  Which I guess she is if you add the 2 hours of cosleeping we do when she gets up between 3:30/4:45 to eat.  After that she fidgets quietly for 30 minutes to an hour while I hold her in bed and then sleeps for another 1.5-2 hours so our new get up for the day is like 6:30/7pm.  This would be even more amazing if she did it in her crib, but I am too chicken to try it yet.

Friday we met up with some women I worked with at my last school.  Things sound like they are getting interesting over there and I may be getting more requests for references (I have gotten two so far).  The Executive Director is going to be the downfall of that place and it sucks.  That school (well the elementary school) was my first "baby".  I created it from literally nothing.  It gave me a distraction from the pain of IF.  It was far from perfect, but it was a place where the needs of kids were put first and I was proud of that fact.  It's a shame how one narcisist can have so much power and his band of merry men and women (the secondary principal and board) can be so complicit.  

Saturday we met my brother for lunch and Isabella cried when she saw him until she realized I wasn't leaving her...dang this kid has a complex!  Our couch date was writing lists.  Yep, J.T. was equally excited when he heard:).  They were top 10 lists we wrote about each other.  It actually turned out to be quite sweet.  Maybe not high on the fun scale, but I think it was something we both needed.

Sunday I discovered my baby only wants to eat if feeding herself.  Now I realized this last week when it came to solids, but drew the conclusion that this included her bottles too.  I am all for independence, but this feels nuts!  Since keeping a bottle at the ready for her to drink from as she chooses she is back to her regular amount of consumption.  She will only let me give her the very first bottle of the day and a few ounces at the end of the day.  I am finding other ways to work in my snuggles (like the co-sleeping), but I'm hoping this is just a phase.

In other big girl news, Isabella can now stand for about a minute or so without holding on to anything and can stand from a seated position.  I see a step or two coming before February is over.  Where is my baby?!?!?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Leap 7 & 9 Month Check Up

Still a big fan of the Isabella show, BUT these leaps can take a flying one!

For real, these developmental leaps are awesome.  It is amazing how this little girl grows with each one.  However, the initial stage of moodiness, clinginess, and weird sleep stuff (though not full on regression) is for the birds.   Girlfriend goes from laughing to crying within seconds.  I haven't taken any crying pictures, but here are some silly ones:

It appears this leap started on Sunday and the clinginess this go round is off the charts.  Similar to leap 6, Isabella gets upset if I leave the room (even if she can see me or hear me).  When I am in the room she is only happy if she has my complete and undivided attention.  When it is time for me to go to class-WATCH OUT!  It is meltdown city the size of which we had not seen before.  Oh, and for an added bonus our younger dog Aiden is the king of empathy and cries right along with her:(.   Tuesday she cried the whole time my friend Stacy and her daughterd watcher her. 

Last night was the first night sweet neighbor was watching her.  Brittany teaches first grade and even though I offered to pay her, she said she would be happy to do it free of charge.  Bless her; however, after last night I wonder if she regrets her spirit of volunteerism.  As soon as Brittany walked in the room Isabella started wailing.  I intentionally had her in the high chair eating Cheerios to try to mitigate and avoid a heart breaking "cling"on removal session.  Brittany put her in her coat and stroller and they went for a walk.  I texted to check on them and she said Isabella stopped crying at the end of the driveway and even smiled a few times.  However, J.T. said when he got her Brittany had to bounce her around to keep her calm when they got home.   Today I went out to lunch with a friend and her kids.  I attempted to leave the table to go to the restroom and baby girl almost blew out a lung the minute I was out of sight.  Had to take her with me!

Tonight is one last sitter for the week.  Next week I don't have to go to class on Wednesday so that may help some.  Even better, maybe we will be past this nonsense and my feisty, spirited INDEPENDENT little girl will return.

We went out to lunch after baby girl's appointment.  All is well.  Apparently I have to learn to live with the 4:45 am wake up calls until she adjusts herself which sucks, but she is healthy so that is all that matters.  She has three top teeth about to make a debut and the doctor gave some suggestions for finger foods a two-toothed child can eat in the meantime.  Her eyes continue to have difficulty draining which means they are often goopy and crusty.  I found some saline wipes that seem to be working better than other cloths we have used  and the doctor said 99% of babies have this clear up on their own.  Here's to hoping baby girl saves being a part of the 1% for something special and not for eye duct surgery!

Monday, January 29, 2018

6 Month Anniversary

Of what you may ask...well it has been 6 months since I have started my little child care endeavor.  An endeavor that both my mother and my husband were not 100% sure would be a success.  If I'm being honest I was kind of touch and go there at the beginning myself!

I have retained 2 of the initial 4 families I started with.  Poor H had to find somewhere else that he could find a way to sleep (I am assuming he did or maybe they ended up doing a nanny-I would love to know).  Then this past Friday was the last day (for this school year anyway) for the K & K siblings.  Poor baby K could not handle all the transitions that having three different sitters brings (who can blame him?!) and none of us could take him full time, so his mom had to find another sitter who could watch him five days a week.  The good news is that she will be watching him for three days in his own house and the other two at hers.  I think that is just what this little boy needs. 

His mom is still interested in having me watch them again next school year (she's a teacher) this time full time, but I'm going to have to see how this dissertations "stuff" goes over the next month or so before committing to two full time kids.  Also I am noticing Fridays creeping into the 18 month old's schedule more often so really it would be almost three kids full time which technically pulls the trigger for licensing...hmm, I'm thinking no...

Anyway 6 months in and we have as much of a groove as you are going to get with tiny creatures who have wants and needs that change as often as the wind blows.  And you know what?   Even if it WAS a disaster I am still getting a front row seat to the Isabella show each and every day.  It was well worth the 6 year wait!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Weekend Roundup

It started as a very busy weekend but then mellowed out as time went on.  On Friday, I had four kids all day (including Isabella).  We all made it through the day unscathed:).  A friend brought over her 4 year old and a friend to play for awhile so it was nice to have another adult to talk to. 

Isabella has been waking up between 4:30 and 5:00am like she has somewhere to be, so I am still going to bed early even on the weekends which kind of stinks.  But it's just a phase, right?!?

Saturday we went out for Mexican as a family and for our couch date we put together a Lego model.  Only took two grown adults with 4.5 degrees between them an 1.5 hours to do.  Betcha the 12 year olds it was intended for can get it done faster!

I was also texting with a friend of a friend who found out that she has Turner's Syndrome and feel like adoption is their avenue for building their family.  Once again I am guiding another family AWAY from our adoption professional.  It SUCKS that we have so much invested in them and are so anti-what they do:(.

Sunday it rained all day.  Isabelle must have been feeling the the gloom because girlfriend was such a fussy britches!  We went to the library and the dollar store so that kept her entertained for a little while.

I was supposed to spend a healthy part of the weekend working on an annotated bibliography but with trying to entertain a fussy baby and spend time with my husband (and let's be honest finish the current season of Hart of Dixie which I started watching on a whim on Netflix and catch up on This is Us) very few biblios got annotated.  It is due tomorrow so hopefully the little children ill cooperate and I can get it done!

Friday, January 26, 2018

One More Shot

I began reading infertility blogs when we were first diagnosed in 2011.  They served as a place for comfort and hope.  Depending on my mood I would seek tales of success or actively search for women like me who were still suffering through the throughs of the unknown.  As time went on I added adoption blogs to my repertoire.  In the beginning months of 2016 I looked for blogs written by women who used Donor Eggs and Donor Embryos as we were trying to determine our next steps. 

Maya was one of these women.

Maya and her husband Noah joined what Maya calls IF Island around the same time we did.  After attempting IUI's, IVF and IVF with donor eggs without success, they successfully began their family through the gift of donor embryos.  Their daughter, whom they refer to on the blog as Momo, was born in March of 2015.  Maya and Noah also have a gift for film making and created a documentary sharing their experience which was recently released: 

I have been looking forward to its release and was excited when I found out it was available on Netflix.  Despite my excitement, I have watched less than 20 minutes of it so far.  I could blame my hectic schedule or the fact that I have babies underfoot constantly and can't really focus, but do you want to know the truth?  I have only gotten 20 minutes in because it is so incredibly hard for me to watch

They did phenomenal work.  They are funny and the content is engaging, but the frustration, hopelessness, and pain we endured for 6 years is still so close to the surface.  Even on this other side with my beautiful daughter right in front of me, when Maya and Noah share their story my "battle scars" are reopened and the tears fill my eyes. 

All of the women I follow regularly on the other side with me--the last three through adoption and IVF in the fall.  Even with the joy we have for the children with whom we have been blessed, I believe there is still a vulnerable place in each of our hearts from the struggle we have endured.  I am sure as time goes by this vulnerability will fade or...actually, know what?   Maybe it won't.  Maybe it's there to make sure we don't take, even for once second, our time with these amazing gifts of life for granted.   Maybe this is a bonus gift the Lord has thrown in.  He can be sneaky like that.

So for now I will continue to follow Maya and Noah through the blog and watch snippets of the documentary as my heart allows.  From the blog I have learned Maya and Noah are gearing up to try for their second child. 

To read more about their story, beyond what they share in their documentary, you can visit:

Don't Count Your Eggs at