Monday, October 15, 2018

My Poor Baby (Please send wine!)

Apparently Isabella's teeth are firm believers in the buddy system-they only come in groups!  At the rate we were going (stuck at 8 since like March) I assumed as her peers were getting visits from the tooth fairy, Isabella would still be waiting on a full set.  Over the last couple of weeks we have had between four and six teeth entering the scene (including two upper molars). 

If knowing how many teeth your kid has is part of the criteria for mother of the year then I'm out.  Her mouth is tiny, she doesn't like to open it and even when we do the turn her upside down trick I STILL can't seem to get a good look.  However, I know for sure that two bottom teeth are almost fully in place and I saw at least one corner of those gigantic molars on each side.  I also feel like I see something near the front of the top, but don't know for sure.  Combined with occasional bouts of extreme fussiness without other cause I feel like I can say with great certainty she is teething.  The request for wine are what I am sure are doctor's orders;).

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Bartering in 2018

I love to see when my friends post professional pictures.  Be it wedding, baby, family.  I enjoy looking at the glimpses the photographer is able to capture that most of us miss.  Well-full disclosure-there are some often used newborn poses that creep me out, but I assume I am alone on this front so will blow right past those.  Beyond that I love the smiles, laughter and lighting a professional photoshoot provides.   All of that said, I am unfortunately cheap.  Cheap + the cost of professional pictures=a drought of professional photos in our lives.

The only time I have regretted this was for our wedding.  We paid for the bulk of our wedding ourselves and there were many, many things I wanted to lay out $2K for before paying a professional photographer.  So a friend took photos. Unfortunately the friend's camera had a chip in the lens of which she was not aware.  As a result all of the photos she took has this blurry dot:(.  The good news is that even in 2010 there were lots of good shots taken by several guests using cameras and fancy phones so after the initial disappointment wore off we were able to assemble a nice wedding album at no cost.

The only time we have had professional photos taken was for our adoption photo book.  It was a requirement from the wonderful people at Lifetime.  I was able to find a photographer who was willing to do a minishoot at a discount so we had professional photos taken on our fifth wedding anniversary.  There was one we really liked.  The rest? Eh.  The photographer had a great portfolio, so I can only assume we the subjects were the problem.

When Isabella came on the horizon we used our camera (a nice Christmas gift from J.T.'s mom a few years ago) for baby announcement photos and maternity shots.  Got some good ones.  Then when Isabella was born we used the camera again for her newborn pictures.  The good news?  We got some good ones of her.  The not so great news?  The only "good" photo of the three of us is right after delivery catching a glimpse of the top of my head.  To be fair it was months before a "good photo" of me was taken so that may have all been for the best!

My sister-in-law has served as a good reminder to make sure we take regular family photos so we have a good one from 5 months and 11 months.  However, none catch that special family look the professionals get.

What does any of this have to do with bartering you ask.  Well let me tell you. 

A neighbor I have never met recently lost her 102 year old grandfather and the family wished to to do a photo slideshow at his celebration of life ceremony later this month.  She did an all call for help.  I enjoy putting these things together so I volunteered.  I hadn't considered charging until she made me an offer.  Turns out she is a professional photographer and offered to do a photoshoot in exchange for the slideshow.  It was a done deal.  This is what bartering of services looks like in 2018.  I like it. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

This Was a Drill...It was Only a Drill

J.T. has accepted the new job.  Even when the new job is something you want and by all appearances seems very promising, change is never easy and brings with it a unique kind of stress.   The reality of such must of hit home because as our baby items were being purchased at the yard sale I circled back to some of his recent comments in that department  While I don't remember his exact words the message was clear.   He is still processing our family of three himself, but ultimately our triangle family status is exactly as it should be.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Community Yard Sale

Last semester during one of my parents visits we put all of the larger baby toys and equipment that was no longer needed for Isabella in a storage space above the garage.  It's a very large space, but a HUGE pain to get to.  As a result I was only planning on lugging it all back down when we needed it again for the baby I was sure was awaiting us in the near future.  As we all would come to find out there was no such baby, so when they began to advertise for our community yard sale I knew it was time to bring that stuff down and make room for whatever opportunities await us in the future.

While I have truly made peace with Isabella as our one and only, I can't say there wasn't a tear or two as we brought down each of the items I had painstakingly covered and protected so Isabella's younger brother or sister wouldn't be shortchanged as they used her "hand-me-downs". 

These items had been preserved with such hope.  Hope that has become acceptance of what is.  Acceptance that is still awaiting the light of joy that I know will come.  It's coming. I know it is.  But for now I wait.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I Never Did Like Math

The One and Done:  Not by Choice group was really starting to weigh on me, but I still felt like I needed a similar community with whom to relate.  That led to my joining a new One and Done group that was a mix of those who were there as the result of both choice and circumstance.   Someone posted a question what led to people becoming a one and done family.  Here was my response:

Hadn't thought of it that way before I typed that response.  But numbers (and possibly little things you know like God's plan for our lives) are ultimately what has led to our status as a triangle family.

Time.  Money.  Statistics.  These are the primary barriers to us not being like many other couples I know that begin to discuss the possibility of another when their child starts inching their way to that second birth day.  I had made my peace with our family of three.  Turns out someone else maybe has not.

About a month ago I had mentioned that a teacher I used to work with and who had also struggled to start a family had just taken on their first foster care placement-a six month old.  Later this led to a discussion about what fostering might look like for us.  I had looked at foster to adopt before we signed on with Lifetime and had been living under the information I found then.  At that time my research had led me to believe that there were virtually no paths for foster to adopt in our state.  Reunification was paramount.   That shut down further conversation because we would only be interested in a foster to adopt scenario.

Fast forward to our trip this past weekend.  I don't remember exactly how it came up, but mention was made that due to a raise at work and a job offer on the horizon that was quite promising that another attempt at IVF with donor eggs might be feasible.  Caught off guard I was quick to explain that our 50/50 shot was asleep in the next room (ok, the closet in the next room) and that I wasn't willing to go through it again with those statistics.  That is where the discussion ended.  The discussion, but not my brain.

What is going on here?  What happened to my staunch supporter of the only child?  Has he had a change of heart? 

Clearly these are questions I need to be asking HIM; however, more than a little bit of me is fearful for hope to once again bubble to the surface.  I am finally at PEACE with our one and only.  Why, NOW?

Well, why not now?  

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am

Lord Lead.  I will follow.  I think I am finally getting the hang of how it is done.

Oh and if you are not familiar with those lyrics check this out:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Family Get Away

For the first time in our family's short history we took a trip just the three of us.  We took a weekend trip to the mountains and it was pretty close to perfect.  Well as perfect as any trip can be with a temperamental toddler:).

Due to said toddler's sleep schedule we wanted a place that would allow us big people to not be on lockdown while her highness was getting her beauty rest.  I first looked into suites as we were looking to do a Saturday to Sunday but soon found out that Airbnb was answer that made more sense financially.  Since they require a two night minimum stay we left Friday night around bedtime.

Isabella fell asleep shortly after leaving and slept for the duration of the trip.  Upon arrival, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the bedroom had a walk in closet.  I love putting Isabella in a walk in closet when take trips.  Is that bad?  It is less of a visual distraction if she wakes up so she is less disturbed about being somewhere else.  It insulates sound so we don't have to worry as much about waking her up.  A little bit of light doesn't startle her awake in the shared space.  The list goes on...

She went back to sleep in her closet immediately.  Saturday was mostly toddler-centric (gym class, playground, nature reserve, and indoor play spot-the first and last we do not have anything like it locally that I have seen!) but we did a brewery for lunch and dinner for the grown ups.  Sunday we got rained out for the apple orchard I was hoping we could visit, but all in all it was a great trip!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feel Your Feelings

I feel like we have covered ad nauesum my inability to process feelings in a manner that would be considered average, but haven't dived to deeply into why this may be the case.

As my mom likes to say I am my father's daughter.  My father was raised in a home with two parents who loved and took care of him and his siblings but for whom displays of emotions simply did not happen.  In the 26 years I knew my paternal grandparents I saw never a trace of sadness nor anger.  There were some laughs and smiles on occasion (mostly from my grandfather), but the epitome of their emotional IQ can be summarized in the moment when my little sister attempted to give my grandmother a hug and received a gentle, but firm "We don't do hug." in response.  Never once for a second have I ever questioned the love or care that my dad or his parents have/had for me, it just wasn't something that was really ever expressed.  Though my dad made a concerted effort to become more of a hugger and says I love you during good byes after my brother passed away.

My mom is the more emotional parent, and from her parents I saw more displays of a range of emotions.  Though that said, my mom does not like it when other people are upset.  Be it with her or in general she is very sensitive and sympathetic and struggles when others are unhappy.  As a result she puts a lot of effort into making those around her feel better.  This is a very commendable and much appreciated trait, but for someone who already innately struggled to express emotions it seemed easier to keep them buried then to drag someone else into the muck of my feelings.

So while I feel much of my inability to express feelings is genetic (if that is possible), there were also dynamics at play that made expressing them even more difficult.  I suspect there were times during my teenage years that my mom in particular might contradict this account though from what I remember I was much more of a sulker and martyr than a rebel or yeller:).  But the bottom line is emotional reactions don't seem to be in natural wheelhouse.

As I have been working through the spectrum of emotions that as a toddler Isabella displays each and every day, I have come to one important conclusion.  I need to let this child feel her feelings.  If she is upset I have to give her a chance to "let it out".  I need to do my best not to swoop in to distract or try to make things better.  I need to help her learn to name her feelings, ensure she does not act in a manner that is unsafe or disrespectful to others when feeling those feelings, and give her space to work through them.  It has been both liberating and terrifying to come to this conclusion.  I have almost an aversion to fussing, crying, and other related emotional responses, and usually have trouble knowing the right thing to do or say.  Maybe letting Isabella feel those feelings will teach me a thing or two as well.