Sunday, March 31, 2013

First Easter

Grace had her first Easter with us today, and we had a lot of fun.

Her morning started with her Easter basket from us.

 photo IMAG0062-5_zpseeeeaa05.jpg

Her favorite part was the eggs.

 photo IMAG0068-5_zpsa1d54352.jpg

 photo IMAG0074-6_zps8d68f361.jpg

Later on, we got her to try a piece of chocolate, and though she got it everywhere, she loved it!

For lunch, we went to my parent's house, where she got to meet a lot of relatives for the first time (our only exception to cocooning until April 20th).

 photo 024_zpsb1ac85e8.jpg
Here is Grace with both sets of grandparents.

 photo 003-1_zpsb0a7873a.jpg
Generations of moms (my grandmother, mom, Grace and I).

 photo 004-2_zps9d2ef9f3.jpg
Family picture.

At the party, my dad had a lot of fun blowing bubbles for Grace, which she also enjoyed.
 photo 014_zps71fcff02.jpg

Then we came home, and she crashed for a much needed nap.
 photo IMAG0290_zps00777d54.jpg

 photo IMAG0288_zpsa6cf291e.jpg
(this is her smile- mouth wide, usually making an aah sound)

The wave, walk and clean up

This post features three short videos:

Grace has decided she likes to wave at mirrors, just like at people.

Never too early to start teaching how to clean up!

After about 20 seconds of hesitation because of the camera (or because we had her do this many times before we filmed it) she shows off her ability to walk as long as someone holds her hands.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Moments of Joy

In my effort to finish up my post yesterday, I didn't share the day to day details of joy we have experienced since we got her home.

It will be shorter than my average post as I am typing with one hand with a sleeping girl on my chest/lap.

Yesterday we started to really hear her vocalize! We are pretty sure she knows mama and dada now. What happens is one of us will have her- like me, and she'll decide she wants Blake. So she starts going "dadadadadadadadada" and squirming till I hand her to him, then she is quiet. Seems pretty obvious she is saying it correctly to us. She does the same thing with mama in a long string... but less often. If we say something enough, she usually tries to say it too.

We have seen her crawl multiple times to get an object or person (well...Blake) she wants.
  photo IMAG0261_zpsff43c951.jpg
Today we have seen huge progress towards walking, where she independently took steps while holding on to furniture. 
  photo IMAG0258_zpse9b80712.jpg
She laughed when the dogs licked her hands- first laugh we saw at home.

She stayed awake for a few hours after breakfast today- which is very different from falling asleep right after eating like yesterday.

We have a lot of theories why she has slept such a huge percentage of time we've had her, but that will be another post.

She had her first walk around the neighborhood yesterday (though she was sleeping through it in her stroller). This morning we gave her her first bath with us- not a fan.

Biggest thing we are working on is nutrition- she eats, just never much. She loves drinking though, so we are going to try to find some nutrient rich drinks for her till she eats more.

It's definitely not easy, but we love finally having her home!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Adventure

With much excitement and anticipation, we got up Sunday morning (the 24th) and were driven to the airport. Our first flight was fast, easy and painless- but it was only two hours to Denver.

That couple hour layover there went quickly, and we were on our way to Frankfurt. We were actually put in the infant row on this flight because it was easier to book tickets with lap seats both ways. Without having much to judge it on, Lufthansa has the best invention for flying with a baby. The baby row is in the front of a section, so on those separating walls, they set up a bassinet for the baby to sleep in. We observed just how well this worked on our first flight with the airline, as we sat next to a woman with her five month old son.

They also have a good movie system where you can pick your own movies or TV shows to watch. For the record though, by the end, we were pretty much out of anything we wanted to watch (this after four flights with them in a very short amount of time). I also read a lot of  magazines on this flight, and tried to sleep some, because I knew when we landed in Frankfurt it would technically be the next morning. Trouble was... it didn't feel that late to us, so we didn't sleep well.

The layover in Frankfurt was mostly spent catnapping stretched across benches. This airport was huge! We felt like it was quite a distance from one terminal to another. We got ourselves some food, and waited to board the next flight.

The flight to Accra was probably the hardest trip on the way there because we were just so done with flying by this point. I recall many times on this flight commenting about we can't wait to get to a hotel and a bed.

It was a strange feeling landing back in Accra, knowing that in just one day, we would have Grace and be taking her home.

The only thing we had checked in Los Angeles was a little stroller, because we wanted to be able to use it in the airports for our collective more than ten hours we would be spending in airports with her.

We looked all around for it, and bottom line is that we didn't see it... and at that point didn't care to make a case out of it, we just wanted to get to the hotel, and go to sleep.

We got a taxi, and were very quickly reminded of the craziness of driving in Accra- there wasn't any movement on the street where the airport exited, so after waiting a little bit, our driver got out of the car (which we were already thinking was strange) and then he talked to a police man near him, and whatever he said, it worked- in a very strange way.

We watched in fascination as this police man tells some cars to drive over the median and turn around, then has other cars back up, so that we can drive the wrong way down the street to a point where we also drove over the median, to get to the street going the other way. Crazy.

Our hotel was very nice, air conditioned and mosquito free. Even so, thanks to time changes and our exciting day ahead of us, we only slept a couple of hours in that nice bed. We had been hoping that our contact wouldn't want to meet us until later in the day, just to get some sleep (closer to our time to sleep) but instead, he wanted to meet at 8 at the orphanage.

Thanks to traffic, we were advised to give an hour for drive time. We ended up only taking about forty minutes so we got there early. Our contact was late- this added up to a lot of time waiting at the orphanage. Eventually we decided to get a phone card to call our contact, and he said he would be there in about 45 more minutes (he has lots of families he assists, so he was working on something else) but that he talked to the director, and we would have Grace with us as we waited. However, the director was also late, so we couldn't have her until she arrived (which ended up being just a little before our contact).

The next part of the orphanage was quick, as we held her and played with her a little (she didn't remember us, so she looked scared again), then we signed the papers, and were driven back to the hotel- where our real parenting began!
 photo Grace001_zpse8be27e6.jpg

 photo Grace002_zps31467cf6.jpg
The official hand off (not sure who this caretaker is)

 photo Grace003_zps090e55da.jpg

 photo Grace004_zpsce13ceb7.jpg
Our drive away from the orphanage

Once at the hotel we changed her diaper and her dress, and had bonding time on the bed as she ate Cheerios.
 photo Grace005_zps3bbf5bd6.jpg

 photo Grace007_zpsc77add3c.jpg

Had lunch at the hotel restaurant
 photo Grace008_zpsf33f839b.jpg

Checked out and went to the Accra Mall to pass the rest of the time until we went to the airport.
 photo Grace009_zpsf40ffb7d.jpg

We also bought a stroller at the mall, as well as a duffle bag so we could check some of our extra stuff that was really heavy and hard to carry.

Somewhere in this time, she decided only Blake was allowed to hold her, and that continued until our time in the airport (though he still can change her diaper without her screaming... which I can't seem to convince her to let me do).

 photo Grace010_zps091ed638.jpg
In the airport

She slept well on all the flights, and even got comments on good of a baby she was. On the other hand, partly because we were still learning, she had some diaper blowouts, and then a round of needing her diaper changed about once an hour in Frankfurt. This required multiple changes of clothes, and by the end she was wearing mismatched clothes that were too big for her.

We didn't get sleep (except for a little in the Frankfurt airport) until we boarded the plane to Washington D.C. and that one we all fell asleep before the plane even took off.

 photo FB_IMG_13644266874472719_zps3a0d4897.jpg

 photo Grace011_zps8820e720.jpg

Immigration was a breeze, and we got on our last flight home (which she was the most fussy).

Made it home early this morning (2AM)
Probably worst family picture of us ever... but our first one at home!
 photo Grace013_zpsc235cb31.jpg

I am going to wrap today up quickly, because I told Blake I would be downstairs with him six minutes ago.

She is eating, some. Seemed to be happiest with her oatmeal breakfast this morning. We are a bit worried about just how much of the day she is sleeping, and she does have a cough that we will take her to the doctor for as soon as possible. But she is home, and we love her, even if she mainly sleeps.

Blast of pictures:
 photo Grace013_zpsc235cb31.jpg
awful one of me- bleh

 photo Grace014_zps20e9e2d9.jpg

 photo Grace015_zps09883a72.jpg

 photo Grace016_zpsb5a482f0.jpg

 photo Grace017_zps0579380a.jpg

 photo Grace018_zps5ae772a7.jpg

 photo IMAG0254_zpsce222926.jpg

 photo IMAG0255_zps5e3fdc84.jpg

 photo IMAG0256_zps77bcf8ad.jpg

Maybe more tomorrow

Saturday, March 23, 2013

End of an Era

I was taking my normal walk on Friday afternoon, and the thought suddenly struck me- this is my last walk by myself for a long time.

This train of thought continued as I realized that the time where I have the day to myself, like my summers and my last few months have been, is ending.

Almost every action that Blake and I did as we prepared to leave tomorrow was with the thought that when we return, everything will be different.

We knew this time was coming, but it is still strange to realize that as soon as we leave our house tomorrow morning, we know that we aren't returning to it again until we have our precious, long awaited daughter there with us. It is a feeling that I can't describe better than it is "the end of an era."

I would say, if I had to divide my life so far into eras, I would say the first era was childhood, and that ended at graduation from high school. It felt like the end of an era. As I did all of my high school graduation events, it was almost surreal, but a day or two after actually graduating it really hit me. To me, that is part of showing what is an era in your life- that the change from it is profound.  I moved out to go to college, and I never moved back in.

My second era is marked by Blake, since we met that first year in college. We have spent the last ten and a half years together as a couple, first with dating in college, then married, but together, and without kids and without our parents making our decisions for us.  This is the era that is closing now. At this point, it is still mostly something I can't absorb, but I think that when we are given Grace, and know that we never have to give her back, it is going to hit me that we are really at this parenting stage of life- we made it.

I mentioned my emotions in my last post, and they are still very mixed. I am excited, as I have wanted to be a parent since 2009, and Grace's parent since last August. Yet, I am also extremely nervous- I love kids, I am good with other people's kids, but having full responsibility for a child is a huge thing. It doesn't help that our first experience parenting will be on lots of planes...that adds to our anxiety. Throw in a dash of nostalgia and wistfulness, and you fairly accurately have my current emotional state.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Three Beautiful words

These words just arrived from our POA: "I got it"

So beautiful, so full of meaning for our family!

Her precious visa is in his hands, and we are traveling to Ghana on Sunday!!!!

So many emotions going through my head right now, maybe later today or tomorrow I can write a post to process these thoughts, but for now, I just wanted to update family and friends that there are officially NO MORE OBSTACLES to bringing Grace home!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Plans Made in Hope

Well, family members who worried about the craziness of our original plans... they won't work.

 We did get great service with Golden Rule Travel, and he was able to arrange flights for us that are significantly less than the prices that we were seeing online, which is great. We are pretty much paying the same as we would for an escort for us both to go, so that feels good.

 Everything rides on the visa printing as planned on the 22nd. We will confirm with our power of attorney that it did print, and then we fly out this Sunday, the 24th. To get the reduced fare, we are having longer layovers, and more stops, but it's okay.

So, we go first to Denver, then to Frankfurt (I get to visit Germany... though maybe only the airport) and from there to Accra. We arrive in Accra on Monday, we are staying the night at a hotel near the airport, and then on Tuesday we are getting Grace. We fly out with her Tuesday night, again go to Frankfurt, but this time the next stop is Washington D.C. and from there to LAX. Long layovers, long flights, and not the best arrival time (we land at midnight Wednesday), but she'll be here (as long as the visa prints fine).

My morning has been exciting- booking flights, booking hotel, changing one of my appointments, making Grace's first doctor's appointment, booking pet hotel. Sigh. Lots. But I think I now officially have everything squared away, so just pray that the visa print goes flawlessly... and we fly out Sunday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back to Ghana

Long story short, our adoption agency won't have an escort ready for a few weeks, and we don't want Grace to have to wait that long to come home. So. Blake and I will be flying out to Ghana sometime next week, together, and be the ones to escort her home. Sorry family members... still no dates yet. :-D I am working on contacting a travel agency that specializes in adoptions because they can get special rates of travel for adoption related things, and are more understanding of our needs (like a lap seat only on the way back). The price for tickets is steep if we just booked normally, and I at least want to give the chance of a discounted rate a try. I checked with my doctor, and I am safe to travel at this stage of pregnancy. Ideally, we will be doing something admittedly crazy, and will be flying out of Ghana the same day we arrive. I.e. leave here day 1, arrive in Ghana day 2, pick up Grace, get her paperwork, go back to the airport, still on day 2, fly out, arrive here day 3. Insane. Perhaps. But it avoids the cost and time of staying in a hotel, and both overseas flights are at night, so perhaps we will sleep. It should be exciting lol! Exciting few days here as I try to finalize travel plans. The prayer request now is that the visa prints with no errors on Friday, so we are totally good to travel.

Finish line in sight

Just got word that Grace's visa has been approved and her print date is this Friday the 22nd! I am so excited, I can hardly stand it! Working on how to get her home after that point, and I'll update when we know that, but the finish line is in sight! As of this Friday she is allowed to come home and live with us!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

waiting continues

Short and less than sweet update- our papers were not submitted today, so the waiting continues.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting, Trusting and Hoping are Intricately Connected

I read many different blogs on a regular basis, and one of them that I enjoy thoroughly is called Team Sullivan. They have adopted three kids from Ghana, as well as do mission work there, and are very strong believers as well. Lots to learn and enjoy reading from them.

I was planning on posting again soon, since I knew that my last few posts were less than my normal cheery (or at least optimistic) self. But in the amazing way that things sometimes work out, her post from the 12th was exactly what I needed to hear, and is more important than the fun updates that will come at the end of the post.

Her husband, two sons and a group from church were heading out on the 12th to go to Ghana, only they got stuck in Germany. Long story short (you can read all about it on her blog), the incredible delay in the airport, while difficult, opened an opportunity to share the gospel with others.

Not only were her family members dealing with delays, and having to wait, her March 12th devotional perfectly matched the situation that her family was dealing with, and that Blake and I have been dealing with (for what seems like forever).

 photo JesusCalling_zpsc8b861f4.jpg

Waiting, trusting and hoping are all connected, especially for a believer... and anyone who wants to adopt. There are countless steps in the adoption process that require waiting. Most people talk about the paperwork as the main negative in the adoption process, but the waiting is much more difficult.

During that waiting time, you have to put out a lot of trust. Trust in your agency, trust in the people working in a foreign country on your behalf, and if you believe in God, you also have to keep putting your faith in Him that each delay, each waiting step, is just to make sure that his perfect divine timing and plan will take place. You hope that each new step goes smoothly, and most importantly, you hope that one day it will result in what all that waiting is for- to bring a child into your home as one of your family.

Looking back on Monday, things didn't really go so bad. We passed, Grace will have a visa, it didn't get sent back or anything drastically bad. Thanks to airplanes and FedEx, our papers that are needed should arrive tomorrow, and then hopefully we will hear about her print date after those are submitted.

The worst thing that happened is that instead of learning exactly when our waiting would be over... we had to send off papers... and wait again. That is what hurt so badly that morning more than anything, is that we thought that at long last we would have a date to see our daughter again, and to know that this time, we didn't have to leave her... but instead it was hurry up (and send the papers) and wait. Again.

But like that devotion says... we have to believe that even in our delay there is a plan. The Bible is full of incidents of people who were put into waiting situations, but there was a reason for them.

Joseph had to spend two years in prison for a crime that he didn't commit- but then he was in prime condition to help the Pharoah, and by extension all of Egypt and the surrounding countries.

Hannah had to wait for the son she desired for a long time, but it meant that Samuel was there at just the right time of history to work in the way that God intended.

David was told he would be a king I think twenty years or more before it finally came to pass, and during that time, he was being hunted! But the experiences that he got during that time were teaching him to trust God, and rely on Him (even though his decisions weren't always good).

Funny thing is... it might not even really be a delay. Even if everything went perfectly, we still might not have had her visa print until the 22nd, which seems to be the best guess for her print date at this point. Then we have to figure out how we are getting her home (escort or Blake). It might end up being a delay in knowledge of the timing, but that's it.

In other news, Blake and I were treated to a fun last hurrah without kids night at the Honda Center.
 photo IMAG0194_zps6b588144.jpg

We were in the second row!

 photo IMAG0196_zps2ad95471.jpg

The game was taking place right in front of us, and it was a really interesting and fun experience. I got to see the emotion on the players faces as they got the puck and decided whether to pass or skate with it. I saw first hand how the moves that look scripted or choreographed from the higher view or the games on tv, are made at the last second, as I saw their faces close enough to see that they were planning what to do next as they went.

It was interesting to see as well how in some ways, our view is clearer from up top, because there were no referees blocking or view, and no spots on the ice that were obstructed from our angle. We had a lot of fun, and my record is still unbroken- every Ducks game that I got tickets for, they won... every time Blake buys tickets... they lose. He isn't allowed to buy tickets any more. :-)

The other exciting news is that garden 2013 is planted, and now we just have to wait (see how waiting affects so much of life) for our baby plants to grow up enough for us to start enjoying the fruits of our labor. Blake wants me to try to take weekly pictures so we can see the progress. We'll see how well I can do at that.

Here are our starting pictures:
 photo IMAG0206_zpsc9f0db0e.jpg
Strawberry towers

 photo IMAG0205_zpsfeb8782c.jpg
Looks like nothing, but there are many different squash and melon seeds planted in there that we look forward to seeing them grow.

 photo IMAG0204_zps3a441676.jpg

 photo IMAG0203_zps2dfe9339.jpg
These two are tiny seedlings of kolrabi and lettuce... I don't know which one is which, and Blake forgot which he planted where... time will tell.

 photo IMAG0201_zpsf474ec31.jpg
Our herbs for the year- basil, thyme, dill, cilantro, rosemary and chives. 

 photo IMAG0200_zps65501fb2.jpg
This is the zoomed out picture of where the kolrabi, lettuce and squash live. Also, you can see our small tomato plants in these pictures.

 photo IMAG0198_zps70295450.jpg
This second box of "nothing" has carrot seeds planted in it.

 photo IMAG0207_zps33bcd97f.jpg
This garden area is on the side of our house, and mostly has garlic, but also has three rogue tomato plants. They grew entirely of their own volition from some tomatoes which rotted there a year or more ago, which makes me strangely proud of them, and though they were growing intermixed with the garlic, I begged Blake to let me keep them. There were more, but he decided to only save three. I am excited to see what kind of tomatoes they turn out to be...these plants of mine that decided they wanted to grow.

Bottom line of this post- I wish I knew what day/hour/minute our waiting would be over, but life isn't like that. Whether it is waiting in an airport, waiting at the IRS office (not fun :p), waiting in line at Disneyland, or waiting for your child (I happen to be waiting for two), you can't know for certain when your waiting will end. But with all those situations, you have to trust and hope that eventually, your waiting will end- your plane will arrive, you'll get your documents, you'll go on that ride and your child will be in your arms.

Monday, March 11, 2013


The response was better than I expected. It seems that instead of proof of seeing her before court, we just need to send originals of our W2 and a tax transcript (not sure what this is, but I'll work on getting it). Not sure if we will then need to request another interview or if he can just submit the documents and then we will have a print date.

Things Fall Apart

I wanted today's post to be a rejoicing one, full of good news, sunshine, and bright days ahead.

It's not.

Instead it's called Things Fall Apart.

Starting with last night, when our escort sent us an email saying she had the flu, wasn't going to Ghana after all, she was the one with the backpack we sent and the necessary form was in her name, and there was no way for the backpack to get to another escort even if we were able to get another form for another person. Things fall apart.

So before we went to sleep, we talked in length about in what circumstances we would want her to go, and which ones we would go. Turns out, didn't matter, for now.

This morning, we woke up, and first thing checked for our e-mail about the visa. It wasn't news that we passed. Things fall apart.

It wasn't news that there is just one little form or some document we need to get to them, and everything will be better.

It's worse.

Background- there are two types of visas (I always get the numbers mixed up so I won't say them). One of them is for families that saw the child before court, one is for families that meet the child after court. The first visa makes them a citizen immediately on arriving, the second requires a readoption in the U.S. to become a citizen.

We saw her first after court. We needed the second visa. We filled out all our information to match that truth.

Today's e-mail, instead of saying that we passed, said that the embassy wanted proof that we had seen her before court! Um... we can't do that. Because we didn't. Because our passports are clear we went in November. Because our tickets and everything will just confirm that we didn't go until November! Things fall apart.

So I wrote back that we hadn't seen her before court, and that we needed the other visa, because, you know, we didn't see her before court, and at this point, I am waiting for his response on where we go from here.

Just as I told everyone... all our plans were contingent on IF we passed. At this point, we haven't. So, we are back to the great unknown of when she can come home.

 My biggest disappointment is that no matter how it happened, it means our precious Grace is stuck longer in an orphanage while we try to figure out how to make this right.

My hope is that we can convince the embassy to simply grant us the other visa.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Our Upcoming Three Week "Vacation"

*Note- I was having some spam comments, so I changed the setting so that I have to moderate comments. If you comment, and it doesn't show up right away, it isn't broken, I just have to make sure your comment isn't spam. 

First, an update on the whole Grace situation because we have had a lot of questions about it.

In less than a week (!!!!), our power of attorney in Ghana will attend Grace's visa interview, with Grace, on our behalf. To my understanding, the purpose of this interview is to be sure that all of our information that we provided for our I-600 (and they already approved) is accurate, and she is indeed an orphan as we claim that she is. If you will join us in praying for this to go well, the time to pray is before you go to bed on Sunday March 10th, because with the time change, most of us will be asleep as this interview takes place. I think Blake said that it is 11:30pm Pacific time that her interview will be taking place in Ghana.

We hope and pray that nothing goes wrong here, and there is no more required information, and they just say we pass. At that point, they will tell our power of attorney the visa print date. Visas print on Fridays. Many families recently have been blessed to have the visa print date be the Friday of the week they pass. Some have it the following week. We are obviously hoping and praying that it is the same week, partially so we have her home that much sooner, but also because of the escort thing.

Our adoption agency has a group of people traveling to Ghana from March 12th to the 18th. (This has nothing to do with us whatsoever, they are just carrying out adoption business there). We have already talked with them, and they have agreed that if it prints on the 15th, they will escort her home with them on the 18th. This would be AMAZING. It would allow us to start bonding with her in a way that is not super stressful on both of us.

If all of this proceeds according to our biggest wishes, Blake and I would fly to Seattle to meet the escort at that airport on the 18th. We would receive Grace from the escort, and then we would go to a local hotel just for the night, before flying home on the 19th (just because she has been flying forever, and we want to give her the little break). Close family members are welcome to meet us and Grace at the airport when we arrive. (If you aren't sure if you qualify... ask :-D).

Then, with the exception of Easter, the three of us are going on a three week "vacation." For most intents and purposes, we hope that our family and friends who already love Grace so much, and want to meet her and spend time with her, will imagine us as on a vacation.

What do I mean by this? I mean that you can reach Blake and I by phone, and I will likely be posting pictures on facebook, maybe even a blog, but you can't come visit our family. (A friend asked about bringing meals over, and I told her, so I will tell any interested parties, that we will accept the food, but we will not have you come in or meet Grace, so it is up to you :-D).

There is a good, solid, research based reason for this- it is called cocooning in the adoption world. Basically, because Grace's background is having a number of different adults care for her, most recently the escort and that group, she hasn't had the opportunity to bond to one pair of adults as more important than any other pair. Even though she seemed to get along well with us in Ghana, it actually could be more of an indication that in her little life, she has learned that all adults are equal.

So, if we allowed the large number of people who love her to come over right away, she would likely continue to believe that, and wouldn't be learning that we are special, a new thing, her parents. Even as much as she will have other important family members and friends, we need to establish ourselves as most important first. The research says that to do this, the best way is to be the only adults in her life for a significant length of time before starting to have her meet others.

Even if you think three weeks is a long time, the research actually recommends cocooning 1 month per year that the child lived in the orphanage/foster home. As young as she is, that would be a month and a half. Blake and I don't want to make everyone wait that long, but at the same time, we do want to be sure that she is bonded with us.

We hope that all who wish to meet her will respect this (if you don't, we will still enforce it, but we will have to feel bad as we tell you no). If we feel like she has really connected with us at the end of the three weeks (with Easter being somewhat of a trial run), we will announce that she is now available for social engagements, which is just my fancy way of saying that we will start scheduling times for anyone who wants to meet her and spend time with her (still with Blake or I present).

Note the word "scheduling." That's on purpose. Another thing the research says about adopted kids is that they can become easily overwhelmed in large groups. I am taking a risk with that for Easter, but would prefer to follow it otherwise. For this reason, we aren't going to have a big party for everyone to see Grace, but instead if you want to spend time with her once we are "back from our vacation" we will work together to figure out a time. My hope is to only have her visit with one small group (2-3 people) a day, at most, and even then only for an hour or two. Again, I hope that people will be respectful of this, and realize that with only 2-3 people a day, depending on how quick people are to contact me, it might end up being longer than 3 weeks for you.

For the record, I plan to do this like I scheduled conferences as a teacher. When I say that we are going to start allowing people to see her, you can contact me with three days/times that work for you, and let me know your 1st, 2nd and 3rd preference. After that, it is first come, first serve. :-D Remember, family and friends, life is long, and eventually everyone will get their turn.

I keep mentioning Easter. If we get her on the 18th (as we hope and pray and wish for), Easter is just about 2 weeks after she gets home. But when I sat down and thought about it, I decided that as important as bonding is, I don't want her to miss out on her first holiday at home just because we are trying so hard to get her to attach to us. So, we will be attending Easter at my mom's house as we normally do, with Grace (if all goes well). If you are part of the "special" group that gets invited to Easter at my mom's, you will get to see her a little earlier than the 3 weeks. Though, be forewarned... we (or at least I) will probably be more of a helicopter parent than normal at that celebration. Also, though at this point, we do acknowledge that family members will want to hold her, and we

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marathon Update

I had signed up to run a marathon on February 3rd. I had trained for it for months. I was getting my head wrapped around it, and really thinking I could do it, and accomplish this amazing goal. But it didn't happen. 

I didn't run it. I didn't even start to run it and quit, I just went that day as a spectator to cheer on my brother in law's girlfriend and my running club friends.

I had a good reason though... about a month before the marathon... I found out I was pregnant! Then when I started reading about it, the general consensus that online information gave me is that it isn't safe to run for that long, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. It didn't get any better when my doctor said that I shouldn't be running at all during pregnancy. Apparently it is bad for my joints.

I honestly had a really hard time with it the day of the marathon. I was super emotional, and cried a bunch of times over the fact that I was supposed to be running! I was supposed to be fulfilling my goal! As much as I am very excited for this new little life, I can't help but think about how 9 months of nothing more than walking and light weightlifting is going to virtually erase all of the hard earned progress towards running a marathon. More than that, even if I go after this goal again when I am allowed to... it will be with two kids!

My option for long training runs will be to either leave Blake  (or another family member) with both of them or to put them in the stroller for a long time, but honestly I don't love the sound of either of those.  If you recall, part of my reason to just bite the bullet and train for the the marathon when I did is that I knew that once I have kids, I will want to spend my Saturdays cherishing the family day together when Blake and I are both home with your children, and not out running for 3-4 hours.

In complete honesty, I think that while I will feel the pull of fulfilling this goal, I might not work towards it until the kids are grown up and in college. Partially because some of my favorite memories with my dad as a kid were the Saturday mornings that we spent together, and I WANT that time with my children. First, it will just be the fun trips to the zoo or the aquarium, but then as they get older those will be the soccer games or dance recitals or wherever their interests lead them. Then, as teenagers, those Saturdays will start to have the more serious sporting events or looking at colleges. I don't know... I'm not there yet, I can't say for sure... but at this point, it sounds like a poor use of my kids' youth to be gone hours plus being tired for the rest of the day, just to fulfill this thought of a marathon.

On the positive side- photo IMG-20130301-WA0000_zps8520f936.jpg
We are having a baby! Our little Grace will have a sibling, and from what I have read, this can even fix some of the problems that I was having before, and will eliminate the surgery that I had been told we should plan on some time after she got home.

I am currently 12 weeks along, which means that the chance of miscarriage goes crazy down, and I feel comfortable sharing publicly (i.e. this post and facebook) that we are expecting a second little one, and I am due in September.

For the record, we didn't expect this. At all. As in I was four days late before I even decided to test... just to "rule it out." Hah... didn't work that way. :-)

I do think it is ironic that for how much I hated people telling me that I would get pregnant after we adopted that I now confirm that stereotype. Sigh lol! Though I do have one small request... out of respect for my distaste for being told that, don't use my example to another family that you know who are adopting. Not because it isn't true... many ultrasounds have definitely confirmed that it is indeed true, but because as a person who struggles with infertility and then decides to adopt, it doesn't help to hear those stories, it just makes you feel like your friends/family consider adopting a consolation prize and maybe you'll "win" next time. Just a small request. :-D

We find out if it is a boy or a girl mid- April, and from here on out, you can expect to see pregnancy related posts till... September.