Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rudy's Birth--Part 4

Breakfast with my family.  We sent this pic to R to tell her we were celebrating her.  

That night I couldn't sleep. This time because I was so excited and nervous.  The next morning I was up super early before anyone else (first time that's ever happened).  My brother suggested we go to breakfast as a family to celebrate.  While at breakfast, I talked to R's caseworker several times working out details of how the next 24 hours would go.  R wanted to do placement that night, only 24 hours after baby's birth.  We were uncomfortable with that plan because the caseworker was traveling home from a business trip that afternoon, so placement would be late and rushed.  Plus I thought R should take her time making her decision and holding her baby.  R wanted us to come to the hospital to see her baby that day, so we made plans to quickly get a Christmas tree, then drop our kids off at my parent's house so we could spend some time at the hospital.

We still hadn't done a single thing to get ready for the baby to come home, which for a planner like me, was weighing really, really heavy.  But because everything was still up in the air that week prior, we couldn't possibly put things like birthday parties and getting a Christmas tree on hold.  

Putting the tree ahead of the baby that day was a bad idea, however.  We got to to the tree lot and it was cold and pouring down rain.  The saw G brought wasn't strong enough to cut the tree down.  Eventually he borrowed a hack saw and after a lot of frustration, finally got it cut down and roped to the top of the car.  The clock was ticking.  We were supposed to be at the hospital in two hours and we still needed to do the following:  drive home and set up the tree, get dressed and be presentable, drop our kids off at my parents' house, drive one hour to the hospital.  On our way home R texted me that the hospital staff reserved us a room at the hospital so we could stay the night with the baby.  I was terribly uncomfortable taking her precious time with him.  Plus there wasn't enough minutes in the day to prepare for an overnight stay, which would include packing everything we would need for placement (gifts for birthmom, camera, etc) and everything we would need for baby (carseat, clothes, blankets, formula, bottles, diapers, etc), plus our overnight stuff, plus overnight clothes for our other two kids.  Earlier that day we had discovered our bottles -- an entire large tub full -- were missing.  The clothes were unwashed.  And our carseat was still in the box it arrived in.  We had no diapers.  We had nothing ready.

Within the next hour there was a lot of yelling and crying and absolute mayhem and panic.  We were going to arrive late to meet the baby we had prayed for for years!  The chaos seemed so inconsistent with how things should be.  And on top of everything else, the tree we just spent an hour cutting down was way too big for our tree stand.  We tried and tried to get it to work, each minute ticking by as we wrestled with it.  We considered putting it in the yard debris recycling bin and giving up on the tree that Christmas season.  Sometimes you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them.  The tree was not worth losing our baby or marriage over...  It all sounds so dramatic, and trust me, it was.  Finally we decided to put it in a bucket and lean it against the wall in our living room. We figured it could stay like that for a few days until we got everything else in our lives situated.  But in the meantime it fell over multiple times and lost most of it's needles all over our carpet.  We are still enjoying, a year later, looking at the sap stains on the wall from where it rested that weekend. 

The blasted tree.  The carnage actually was much, much worse than it looks.  

Eventually we were in the car and headed for grandma's house.  On route we decided we wouldn't stay the night.  It seemed like a selfish decision from every angle.  Plus logistics played a role in that decision.  

We don't have a lot of feelings or memories from that first visit.  We were nervous as we arrived.  And we thought he was so beautiful when we saw him.  He was fat (9 lbs, 1 oz) and looked like a 6-week old baby.  He had a full head of dark hair with a slight red tint.  His skin was perfect and his head was round like a much older baby.  He had enormous hands and feet and the most pronounced elf ears.  He was our first full-term baby, which made a big difference in his size and how developed he looked.

Each of our experiences meeting our baby's for the first time are all very different.  God gave me what I needed for each individual situation.  I just needed to cope in that moment.  I didn't have any amazing spiritual experiences.  I didn't feel bonded in that instant.  I felt "fine."  I felt like everything was as it should be and he was ours, but otherwise, I was keeping a safe emotional distance.
 G holding his boy for the first time. 

I felt regret that week that when he gets older and we tell him his story, we won't be telling a story of excitement and bliss leading up to his birth.  But as I've thought about it, we were clueless about R's pregnancy, and once we learned of him, we were busy and scared.  We were worried and terrified of not getting him more than anything.

I thought I wanted any baby, but as soon as I got to know him, I realized I wanted him.  So while this baby didn't get a nursery and his parents weren't full of joy and anticipation on the day of his birth, he will grow up knowing we wanted him so badly it physically hurt.  And he will grow up knowing he healed that pain.  It wasn't the anticipation of his arrival that was exciting.  But it was the reality of what he brought to our family that was exciting. 

Rudy's birthfather didn't go to the hospital as feared and his birthmom was still very resolved and unemotional about everything.  This was both a relief and a serious worry.  She was very generous and was willing to let us hold him as much as we wanted.  She was still open to us staying the night with him.  She said he was our baby.  All the details were coming together as we hoped, but it was unusual that she was so detached from the situation.  All birthmoms are different, but we hoped she was OK and was giving herself permission to feel the joys of having a baby, and the deepest lows a person can experience.  She was very stoic during that first visit.

She had amazing friends from church there in the hospital with her.  We were so impressed by their love and friendship.  They all had children at home and here it was a week before Christmas, but they were there with her around the clock.  The staff at the hospital was warm and supportive of her and us.  It was a little awkward feeling like we were intruding on such sacred space, but the staff seemed to go with the flow, which was so nice.

We loved watching R nurture her baby.  She was so soft with him.  Rudy was her second baby, so nursing and changing diapers came naturally to her.  She was very at ease caring for him.

We didn't spend a lot of time there that afternoon.  Nobody really had much to say. And we wanted to give her as much time as possible to be his mommy.

Does he look like a baby that is less than 24-hours old?  His hair was amazing and still is.  I could tell already he would be a sweetheart.  

We spent the drive back texting with our caseworker and hers, working out details for placement the next day.  We planned to arrive at the hospital around 10:00.  There was a lot to do in the meantime.  The caseworkers needed to prepare the mountains of paperwork to be signed by her and us.  And in order to do that, they needed his name.  They had been asking us for a few days, as had R.  We had been casually considering names and had a short list, but nothing felt right.  Mostly because I just couldn't bring myself to choose a name for a hypothetical baby.  Now that we had seen him and held him and now that we were 14 hours away from placement, it was time to make a commitment.

The weight of that decision seemed overwhelming.  The task was impossible.   We decided to discuss it over dinner.  As we walked into the restaurant, we saw two of my good friends from highschool, and conveniently, they were also fellow adoptive parents.  It was another huge comfort to have their support, understanding, and listening ear.

We talked and talked and talked about possible names.  R had chosen his middle name a few hours before he was born.  It was a unique Hawaiian name meaning "a cool breeze blowing over a mountain."  She loved it because she wanted him to be a strong person who gave people peace during their difficult times.  It was also a fitting name, considering he was born on a day of tragedy and was such a source of peace for her and for our family.

We considered Edward as a first name, a family name on both sides.  We both loved it and that was R's top choice for him.  (That name would have suited him perfectly, now that we know him.  Darn!)  But it just didn't feel right.  We had a few other options and they didn't seem right either.  G liked one name in particular, but although I liked it, it didn't have any significance to me.  It was just a random nice name.  I needed to feel a connection, enough to trump the family name we were considering. We agonized over this.  Our phones were blowing up with friends and family and caseworkers begging for more details... and a name.

I thought hard about why I cared about his name.  I had cared so deeply for Sambo's name that I traded naming rights for lasik eye surgery.  I got to pick his name, G got surgery to fix his eyes.  Seemed like a fair trade and I am still so happy with that negotiation six years later.  Anyway, as I soul-searched while eating chips and salsa, I realized I didn't care what Rudy's name was.  I just wanted HIM.  For years I hadn't cared which baby I got.  I was even willing to do foster care and share parenting someone else's baby, as long as I got to have a baby.  I sat there in the restaurant and realized I didn't need a powerful connection right away with him when I first saw him.  I knew I'd love him no matter who he was or what his name was.  It's an interesting thing.  When so much is at stake, a baby or not a baby, names just don't matter.  So I let G choose.

I did, however, want to make sure the name he chose was associated with good strong men.  Interestingly enough, the two people we could think of right then with that name were amazingly strong men that we admired from church.  One of the men had lost an infant daughter to a heart defect only three months prior.  We had watched him and his wife handle the experience and their grief with so much faith and grace.  It seemed like a honor to give a son a name that reminded us of somebody so strong and courageous.  The decision was made.  The name was formal for a baby, so G texted our friend and asked him what nicknames he had a kid.  He replied right away with some good ones, including Roo-Roo.  As soon as I heard the name Roo-Roo, my heart was full.  I knew that Roo-Roo was my baby.  Quickly, we thought of the nickname Rudy and then Rooster.  And all three names have stuck.  Now a year later, I don't even think Rudy knows what his real name is. 

We left the restaurant, returned to my parent's house to tuck our kids into bed there.  We then made an 11:00pm stop at Target to buy a bouncy seat (I sleep train from day one and needed one for that purpose), some diapers, formula, and a bottle since we weren't sure where our stash was.  We came home and while G spent an hour (literally) vacuuming up needles that had fallen all over the carpet, I started washing baby clothes.  We eventually found the bottles, thank goodness, hidden in a strange spot in a garage cupboard.  G put together the carseat and we straightened the house.  We organized our gifts for R, charged our camera, chose some outfits for him to come home in -- all hand-me-downs from his brothers.  But we had some darling Christmas outfit options at least!  Eventually we went to bed at dawn.  The stress of the week was over.  We were exhausted but energized yet also very serene.  We had chosen a name.  Our bottles were washed.  We had clothes and all the necessities.  We were beyond ready and it was happening.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story -- Part 3

Considering our baby is turning ONE in two days, I think it's time to wrap up his birth story.  It is important for me to write all this out so he will know about the circumstances of his birth.  But it was a painful part of our lives and so it's been really hard for me to face the trauma of that month.  Everyone has times in their life that are really hard.  And for whatever reason, several "hard" situations came to a head between October and January of last year.  We have had a peaceful year as a result, but we've remained tender for many months.  Still, Rudy's life and birth were a miracle and clearly show God's love for each one of us.  So I want to tell more of the story...

See Part 1 and Part 2

I could hardly function when I woke up the next morning -- the day Rudy would be born.  Even without the adoption and new baby on the way, I still would have been overwhelmed.  It was an intense week even without all that going on.

As I was getting Buddy ready for school I knew R was already being induced.  So I sent her a "Good luck!  I hope your day is good!" text.

I asked G for a blessing that morning.  My mother -- who obviously listens to the spirit -- called and said she was coming over to help me clean my house to get ready for Sambo's birthday celebration with his birth family.  It was going to be a very full house with lots of people later that night.  This was the first time some of them had been to our house.  I always feel like I need to have a clean house and have things "all together" when they come, although I really need to get over that.  If there was a time I should have practiced letting things go, that would have been the time, but my anxiety was driving my cleaning spree.  The house would be spotless by that evening. 

I turned on the news right after taking Buddy to school.  I had never once done that so early in the morning.  I was looking for a distraction from the pit in my stomach and thought watching a little news would help.  A massive shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut was all over the news.  Many children were dead.  I turned off the TV instantly.  My stomach was already in knots, and hearing that news, it wound so tightly I seriously could hardly breath.  This news was so upsetting to me I didn't even mention it to my mom when she got here.  I wanted to pretend like it wasn't true.  I was trying so hard to be excited about this precious baby being born into the world.  It seemed like he was coming into such unfortunate circumstances.  It seemed so unfair.  He was coming to a world that was unsafe for children.  He was going to be placed for adoption into a family that was too busy and fearful to prepare for his arrival, get excited about his birth, or even choose a name for him.

I kept thinking:  We all need peace.  We all need some hope.  If I had peace and hope, I could do this.  

I also had been thinking for the past three days that someone really needed to invent an epidural for adoption.  Unfortunately, it doesn't exist!  The only thing that relieves the pressure is prayer.  So I prayed a lot.

Sambo with his birthmom.  

I texted R all throughout the day.  She was happy and calm all day.  That evening we had Sambo's party.  It was wonderful to be with his birth family that night for a lot of reasons.  It was comforting to be with people that understand the trauma and heartbreak and also indescribable joy of adoption.  And it was good for them to experience the angst and worry about what was happening to R in the hospital.  We grew closer that night as a result of that shared experience.    

That evening around 8:30 I got the text that our sweet baby had been born.  R was open with details and asked us if we wanted him immunized.  She said she was feeling great and he was perfectly healthy. 
This was the picture we got saying he was here. 

As soon as I heard he was here, I had a flood of peace and hope.  I needed hope and here it was.  I needed peace and it was here too.  

To put it simply, he was born a day after G's supposed "deadline."  He was born on a day when the world needed a sign that God holds children in the palm of his hand.  If he had been born a week earlier, we wouldn't have had him.  His birthfather would be his father.  If he had been born much later, we wouldn't have gotten him either.  He came on the perfect day. 

P.S.  You won't have to wait 7 months this time.  More of the story to come within a day or so. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beautiful Children

It's not my fault my children are the best looking in kids in the entire world.
One perk to adopting is I can brag about my kids' looks all I want.  I can't help but have a soft heart toward their shenanigans when looking at their sweet faces.  We thought we were due for an average-looking, if not homely, child after the first two.  Nope.  He is so cute we can hardly stand it. 

Monday, September 30, 2013


Is it just me, or does my youngest boy look EXACTLY like his older brother?

 Rudy 9 months

 Buddy 11 months

 Rudy 9 months

Buddy 11 months

You might not be able to tell in these pictures, but they have the exact same color of red suuuuper thick crazy hair.  They both have round faces and bright blue eyes.  Rudy's are a lot brighter than they appear here.  They both have translucent skin and smile with huge open-mouth smiles.  They are both happy, friendly, and extremely busy.  There are very few differences between the two!  ...Except at 9 months Buddy was 4 pounds more than Rudy is (20 pounds). And they don't share any common genes.  Amazing, if you asked me. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our Newest Addition

Congratulations on your new addition!

My sister threw me a baby shower when Buddy was born over 9 years ago.  Buddy was the first grandchild, so everyone was pretty excited about his arrival.  Right away everyone begin assuming and mocking me about being the first family member to own a minivan.  My parents didn't own one growing up and none of our relatives did either.  I'm not sure why having the first grandbaby made me the "minivan" type. Or why everyone assumed I'd buy one at the first sign of parenthood. 

To prove her point, my sister gave me the card pictured above at my baby shower.

Well low and behold, she was right.  We were the first to get one.  It just took us 9 1/2 years.  We lasted six whole months cramming all three kids in the back of our Subaru once Rudy arrived.  It worked for the most part, but having all three of those boys yelling in my ear was a serious hazard to my mental health.  Plus it would have been nice to be able to carpool with friends these past few months with a newborn.

Alas, the minivan because a near-necessity.  After driving to central Oregon a couple weeks ago as a family -- with the kids yelling and laughing like the savages that they are -- G ordered the minivan the next day.

He picked it up Thursday night.  I drove Buddy to school on Friday.  We left it home Saturday so we could go to the beach.  (I refused for the maiden voyage to be somewhere dirty.)  Sunday G drove it to church.  And by Monday morning it wouldn't start.  We had literally driven it six miles total.  By some grand miracle, G was working from home so I could go to an early morning meeting so I was able to take his car.  He got it started while I was gone and took it to work the rest of the day.  Tuesday it started fine and I took Buddy to school.  But when I tried to leave to pick him up from school it wouldn't start again.

To say I was irritated would be a huge understatement. I had Sambo's friend in the car and I was trying to drop off at home.  Buddy was stranded at the school.  And I was stuck in the garage in a brand new minivan with no battery power.  Luckily I got a hold of a friend who was also at the school getting her kids and she brought Buddy home.

Sambo's friend's mom came to get him and in the meantime a garage door repairman showed up (2 hours late mind you) to work on installing a garage door opener.  Since he was so late I had assumed he wasn't coming.  While my friend was trying to collect her son, the garage door guy was trying to tell me that I would be happier with a different type of door and he would have to re-schedule the appointment since he didn't have the right parts... the front door was open and a mama barn swallow that was nesting above the column on our porch flew into my house.  Her chicks had hatched that day so she was a little stressed to be away from them, to say the least.  Right away she started pooping all over the place. 

My blood pressure was through the roof.  Especially because I hate critters of any type.  The kids were all running around saying "Yay!  We have a pet!" and trying to close the door so the bird would stay in.  I was trying to get them to stop yelling, usher the bird out the door, say goodbye to my friend, and figure out what garage door we needed/reschedule that appointment, and figure out why my car wasn't starting, and figure out how to get Buddy and his friend to track all at the same time.  Birds always seem to fly in my house when G is unavailable, so luckily our good friend Ben stopped by and got her to fly outside before she crapped all over my house and before she lost her mind trying to get to her babies.

Anyway back to the minivan.  The next day that thing was in the shop.  Turns out it had a bad battery is all.  Thank goodness.

Now to rate the minivan.  I'm still a little embarrassed to drive it around.  And I still feel like I'm in some sort of twilight zone (when did I become old enough to drive a minivan?).  But I LOOOOVE it.  It's so convenient.  And I can hardly hear Sambo's shrill voice way in the back which is a dream come true.  The only thing I hate is the cargo space.  My Subaru Outback's cargo area was large and fit everything I could even need including a gigantic stroller.  The van... not so much.  I was transporting 6 cases of strawberries this week and got my first taste of "minivan tetris" as I put a few boxes here, a few there, and some on the floor of the front seat.  That will get old, but it's a small price to pay for the convenience of not having my kids yelling right in my ear.

In the 7.5 years I had the Subaru, it started every single time I told it to.  It'll take awhile before the annoyance of that wears off, although I guess it's not the minivan's fault per se.

Here I am saying goodbye to my car for the last time.  We miss it so much!  And the saddest part, we learned it was sent to auction and wasn't even fixed up to be sold at the dealership.  Our cars always get the worst kisses of death.  Our first car was sold to a cousin who sold it to the "cash for clunkers" program.  Our second car was sold to my brother who got it stolen from his apartment complex a short time later.  And now this beloved car was traded in only to be sold at auction.  So unfortunate. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story-Part 2

It was the day were going to meet our baby's birthmother.  

First thing Thursday morning Buddy and I had parent-teacher conferences at school.  Right after that, we drove home and picked G and Sambo up and immediately left for our first meeting with Rudy's birthmom, R.  We had an hour-drive.  We stopped en route to get her flowers, and arrived right on time.  We were nervous but mostly calm.  We have met with enough potential birthmoms to know they are in fact more nervous than we are.  Which is a strange thing to experience, considering how nerve-wracking it is to try to impress someone enough that they would want you to be the parents of their beloved baby.

We arrived at her apartment. I left everyone in the car, and went to get her.  I gave her a hug and handed her the flowers.  She didn't say much, so I tried to engage her 2-year old -- who was one of the cutest little boys I'd ever seen.  I had brought him a Thomas the Train, hoping that would break the ice.  And it did. 

We got in the car, made small talk, and drove to a McDonalds nearby.  Once there, the kids played and we ate.  Even though we had begged our kids to behave themselves and have excellent manners, they acted like themselves (which means their manners were mediocre at best).  I didn't know if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  When we met with the other recent expectant mother, our kids were the best behaved they had EVER been. Every time we hung out with her they were charming and adorable and awesome.  I kept thinking, "Well at least R is getting to know the real us." 

Our meeting was tense.  Not because we didn't connect, but it was very apparent she was feeling a lot of stress and was very conflicted.  Delivery was right around the corner and although she had prayed mightily to know if adoption was right -- and had received confirmation that it was -- she had the large task of convincing the birth father that her new plan was right.  And that we were the right family to raise their baby.  She had decided that it was all a matter of good, better, and best.  She would be a good mom to her baby.  The birth father would be a better parent.  But she felt we would be best.  We talked a lot about what the birth father was thinking.  She shared some texts between the two of them.  He wasn't being unreasonable in protesting her change in plans.  After all, he had spent the last nine months planning to be his parent.  But he didn't understand her prayers, he didn't understand adoption, he didn't know us, and he didn't understand her heart.  The whole thing with him was complicated.  A few of the things he said to her were cruel, but she was unshaken. 

She said that since she had prayed about adoption and knew it was right, he could too and she had faith he would. 

Our hearts broke for her.  Her decisions were huge and her life was hard.  She had a lot of convincing to do to get him on board.  And she had no family to support her.  But our hearts were also soaring.  We were so proud of her already.  We could see immediately she was a great mom.  Her little boy was well behaved and although she was stressed, she was calm and good to him.  She didn't have many questions for us besides discussing openness.  We asked her a few things, but mostly we just sat together and told her she had our support no matter what.  We made it clear that if she adopted us, we'd be good to her.  

We left feeling "fine."  We were worried for her, we felt good about our visit.  We were mostly glad we had gotten all our Christmas shopping done early because no matter how this ended, we knew the next few days would be a ride.  

That afternoon G had his partner's meeting.  A coworker hit G's car in the parking lot.  It did significant enough damage that we started stressing about how it would work to get it fixed, be down a car, and have a newborn.  Luckily they gave him a loaner while it was getting fixed.  That evening we went out and celebrated Sambo's birthday.

 Celebrating Sambo's birthday.  This evening was really fun.  Just what we needed!

The next day, Friday, I had a million errands but it was mostly a regular day.  Saturday G woke up with the stomach flu.  Later that day Sambo got it.  And Sunday Buddy got it.  I was "this close" to losing it.  I had so much to do and sanitizing the house from top to bottom and doing mounds of extra laundry just about put me over the edge.  Plus our washing machine was on the fritz.  It would seize up and stop working for hours at a time.  I texted Rebecca back and forth over the weekend.  Thankfully, no baby yet.

Saturday night I ordered a carseat online.  It was really, really hard to do -- pure torture.  I didn't want to jinx anything by preparing for a baby that was only a vague possibility, but the carseat I wanted (and that would fit in our car) was only available online.  I figured I'd donate the carseat to someone who really needed it if things didn't work out.  This probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but purchasing that carseat stirred up a lot of anxiety and grief that I didn't even realize I had.  

Monday I volunteered at the school.  When I went back to the car to wait for school to end and Buddy to come, I had a text from R telling us she would love for us to be the parents of her baby.  I stared at my phone, my heart racing, for a few minutes.  I had no idea how to respond.  For one thing, it seemed surreal.  I didn't think it would NOT happen, but it didn't seem realistic, if that makes sense.

Eventually, I texted her back, telling her we were ecstatic and were honored.  I felt really unemotional still.  I think it was my only way to cope with all that we had already experienced in our 10+ years of pursuing adoption -- and what I knew lay ahead for us.  

That day we also learned there were a few more complications.  R has some tribal blood which threatened to really complicate matters.  A birthmom with tribal blood can't place a baby for adoption without the tribe's permission and they don't give permission easily or quickly.  We hired an attorney that day.  The agency had already consulted him about some of the complications, so he was already in the loop.  

We still hadn't talked any logistics with R.  We had no plan for the hospital, we had discussed openness, but not specifics of what she wanted and needed.

Our boys were overjoyed and very hopeful.  The smiles that spread across their face anytime they learned of any good news helped keep G and I going.  We were so glad we had involved them every step of the way.  They were a comfort to R -- a major factor in her considering us in the first place.  And they were a huge comfort to us when we had doubts or worries about what would happen.  They were so incredibly excited!

Tuesday was a rollercoaster.  Our caseworker informed us that the agency director "wasn't hopeful"  placement could or would happen because of the birth father, the tribal blood, and the fact that we had no plan for how placement would go if we even got to that point.  A few key people spoke with R that day and by the end of the day, she was more resolved and we were feeling better.  All along her communication with us was positive, but it became more so.  I was starting to feel really overwhelmed, though.  Overwhelmed by the stress of the ups and downs.  Overwhelmed by the fact that we were 2 weeks from Christmas and still had two birthdays to celebrate.  And Overwhelmed by the idea of a new baby.  Besides buying the carseat we hadn't done one single thing to prepare for a baby.  I started making a list of things that were required to bring a baby home.  And I made a list of things that would be nice to do before bringing a baby home.  The lists were really long. 

That night we fed the missionaries.  It turns out that one of the sisters was adopted and has an open adoption.  We had such a great talk with her and instantly felt a boost of confidence and hope.  I am so thankful for her encouragement that all the stress would be worth it.  And that all that stress and prayers were for a baby that would one day be a missionary too.  She really put things into proper perspective for us.  Plus Buddy participated in our conversation with her, offering his experience with his own adoption.  I think it really helped him to feel connected to another adoptee who was confident about her story, and I think it really helped him to be fully educated about the latest with R.

R texted me that evening and said she would be induced Friday morning if nothing happened before then.  

Wednesday was a hard day.  The reality of the situation really sunk in when we had to fill out some paperwork for placement -- which was tentatively planned for Sunday.  We also paid our adoption fee.  My stomach hurt all day and I was terribly stressed.  It was still surreal.  We were going through all the legal steps for placement but my head couldn't wrap itself around the idea.  I think I was just really afraid of letting myself go there.  Especially since we had not worked out any details about how things would go while R was in the hospital, or how our relationship would work after placement. 

That day the boys got tired of begging me to decorate for Christmas, so they took matters into their own hands.  Buddy pulled the Christmas bins in from the garage and started decorating himself. 

Nobody ate this cake.  We didn't even cut it.  We were all too nervous.  And I just wanted to get the kids to bed so I could collapse. 

Thursday was G's birthday.  I was really hoping the baby wouldn't come that day.  I have never in my life been so overwhelmed.  It was all I could do to face the day.  If I hadn't been so busy, I would have spent the day in the fetal position.  My stomach was in knots, but I did my best to try to make the day good for G.  Sambo and I took him treats at work.  I baked him a fancy cake.  That day I made time to shop for some gifts for R.  I got her a scrapbook and gift card to get some supplies to put together the scrapbook, a stuffed dinosaur for her and a matching one for the baby, a beautiful picture of two angels holding a newborn baby, and another train for her son.

Then that night we went out for dinner.  I was too sick to my stomach to eat.  That night I fell asleep super early in the fetal position on the couch.  The next day -- Dec 14 -- was going to be a doozy.  And I could hardly face it.  There was a baby coming in a few hours.  We had a dinner party to pull off that night to celebrate Sambo's birthday with his birth family.  My house was a mess.  A couple other things were happening that on top of everything else were terribly intense.  It was a lot. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story-Part 1

After the concert

I guess since Rudy sprouted his first tooth today, it's high time I tackle his birth story.  I will include many details, but like any blog I will keep some of the more gruesome and even sacred details to myself.  Although I wish I could share all the details because this story is such a miracle, I think you will enjoy the basic story. 

Here goes...

At Christmas-time last year G announced we had a year to find our next baby otherwise we were done.  The family would have to be complete with the two boys we already had.  We had been waiting awhile already for a birthmom to choose us and we had no prospects in sight.  We had casually considered another agency, but the cost kept us from making any commitments.  But more than that, switching agencies never really felt right.

His deadline was his birthday, December 13th.  I was not OK with G's timeline.  But I thought if his deadline came near I would re-negotiate a new one.  In G's defense, our agency only had 2 adoption placements that year.  So our chances were not good.  Nobody's were.  But I wasn't willing to let him or anyone decide if and when we pulled our application.  After all, I knew we had another baby that would come. 

Throughout the year we actually had a few remote prospects which hadn't happened in a couple years.  A few friends told us about situations.  We had a few email contacts from potential birthmoms.  In September we began a brutally stressful situation with an unwed mother.  That is a story for another day.  But she delivered her baby in early October and decided to parent him.  The details and the lessons we learned from this situation are sad, confusing, overwhelming, and profound.  They were life changing for all four of us. 

After this situation, I started thinking maybe G's deadline wasn't so bad.  The emotional rollercoaster had gone on too long.  Not just with particular wait, but I realized we had been hoping to adopt, getting fingerprints, having home visits from caseworkers for 10 years and I was getting tired of it.  I started asking people how they know they are done having kids.  Nobody could give me a straight answer.  I thought after all these years, God owed me a clear answer. 

But I really wanted a baby.  Any baby.  And I hadn't even received a vague answer this was it.  G kept reminding me the deadline was around the corner.  I could see his point.  The wait had taken a toll on all of us.  Our kids were fully immersed in the September/October situation.  The knew the girl too and had tried everything they could think of to persuade her and God (and us) that the baby should be ours.  They were devastated when she chose to parent and they grieved in their own ways over that situation. 

So the first weekend in December I approached G and said I thought we should fast that it would be clear what we should do next.  I suggested infant foster care.  I knew I was capable of loving someone else's baby.  Most infants return to their parents, and I knew that.  I knew it would be hard on me, but so was the situation I was in, so I needed to determine which path was right.  Torment myself with a temporary baby, or torment myself with no baby at all.  I knew foster care would be really hard on my kids.  But we had grown a lot as a family in our understanding of adoption and love, so I thought maybe they were getting prepared.

At any rate, G declined the fast.  He said he already knew that if we didn't have a baby by Dec 13th, we were done.  So I fasted.  I planned to make a phone call about foster care the next day unless I hit a major roadblock.  I prayed that a clear path would unfold as I took steps to figure things out.

The next morning, Dec 3, I called.  The training started the next day.  I told the lady that was too soon for us, but maybe in January.  She mailed me a bunch of information. 

Ten minutes later my caseworker, Joe, called and said his co-worker, Rachel, was meeting with a potential birthmom at that moment.  She had made a plan early in her pregnancy to place the baby with his birthfather and let him raise the baby.  She had considered this carefully.  The birthfather had even met with Rachel a few months prior to get all the details straight and to learn his rights.  But in the final days of her pregnancy, she had realized that wasn't what she really wanted.

She was due the following week.

My chest seized up right at that moment.  And quite frankly, that feeling of not being able to breath has only started to ease up. 

The birthmom didn't have Internet but wanted to talk to me on the phone later that afternoon.  I suggested she call and leave a message and I would call her back that night once the kids were in bed.  I have learned I can't put my life on hold every time a situation comes up, so I decided to finish out my day as planned:  pick Buddy up from school, straight to piano, home for a snack, off to the gym for my Pilates class, home for dinner, and kids to bed.  Mondays are really busy in the afternoon with no down time so as much as I was eager to talk to her, I knew I had to go about my day normally.

Sure enough, while we were out, she called, so around 8pm I called her back.  The conversation went well, but was strained.  I got the details on her heartbreaking situation.  She seemed strong and sure of her decision to place her baby for adoption.  I suggested she get to know other adoptive couples.  She told me she was considering another family but didn't really feel inclined to talk to them after talking to me.  I know them well.  They have waited for their third baby for around TEN years.

We hung up with plans to meet on Sunday.  She was going to work on the birthfather, who has rights and was expecting to parent the baby.  And who was not supportive of adoption.

I went about my week.  Luckily it was insanely busy.  Wednesday was Sambo's birthday.

That morning she texted me and said she was starting to thin and dilate and since her first son was born early, she could go into labor at any time.  I cautiously suggested we meet the next day (Thursday) instead of waiting until Sunday.  Unfortunately G was having his big annual partner's meeting -- which is required to attend --  Thursday and Friday and he had an important client meeting that day too.  We had planned to celebrate Sambo's birthday Thursday night as a family.  Really the only time we could meet was during his client meeting.   Fortunately, they understood the need to reschedule.

That night we went out on a date to the Killers concert and to a delicious meal.  It was Sambo's birthday and like terrible parents, we dropped him off at our friends' house to be babysat.  (He was thrilled by the way.)

We started to discuss baby boy names over dinner.  We couldn't agree on anything.  But I also couldn't commit to anything because I wasn't really certain anything would come of this.  I couldn't name a baby that was only a vague idea at that point.

But during the concert, I had a distinct and powerful thought come to my mind:  I was truly happy.  I had worked over the past couple of years to figure out how to have joy no matter what.  And I felt it surge through my body that night.  Now granted, I love the Killers and the concert was amazing.  But there was more to it than that.  I knew my soul and life were complete and fine and full of joy no matter what happened.  I really believed it. 

I would think back on that feeling over and over again in the coming hours, days, and months.


Monday, March 25, 2013

More Quotes

I hesitate to post these next three stories in the same blog post because it makes Buddy seem like a monster.  In reality, he is the most tender-hearted person you'll ever meet.* But here goes. 

* * *

Buddy:  "I'm going to try to be perfect today.  Or is that putting too much pressure on myself?"

* * *

There is a rather large woman who is the crossing guard in the afternoon at Buddy's school.  I asked him what her name is.  He said he didn't know.  Then he asked me if i think she is ugly. I stifled a laugh (because she is-and because she seems really cranky) and said no, and gave him a mini lecture about how rude that is. I said she doesn't choose the way she looks, that's how God made her. In my head i was laughing at my own lecture. then I said, "And what if she goes home to her husband and says there is this ugly kid at school that wears Shaun White shirts and he has freckles and blue eyes. Wouldn't that hurt your feelings."  And without skipping a beat he said, "You sure she's married? I really doubt she's married."

* * *

Sambo was trying to convince me to build spaceships out of Legos with him today. I don't have a creative bone in my body, so I suggested I pull out some instructions and build a set with him.  He didn't want to do that, so then I suggested he build a spaceship and I just find him the right pieces.  He didn't like that idea either.   He said, "You just don't know how to put the pieces together?  I can show you how to do that."  I explained that I know how to put the pieces together, but I just have a hard time being creative and knowing how to put the pieces together to make it look like a spaceship.  And so it really stresses me out.

He said, "Mom, you just need to believe in yourself.  I believe in myself and that's when I get my good ideas."  What a great life lesson!

*Saturday I ran into a boy from Buddy's class at the grocery story.  He has autism.  Buddy adores him and is a really good friend to him, which is why I knew who he was.  We hear stories about him all the time!  I introduced myself to him and and his dad.  Later as I was checking out at the store, the boy came up to me and asked if Buddy would like to play with him at his house sometime.  I said he would love to.  He ran back to his dad cheering "Dad!  She said he wants to play with me!  She said yes!" 

Then today I had an interesting phone call from the babysitter of a kid in Buddy's class at church. I hardly know who he is (and certainly had no clue who the babysitter was or how they got our number) but she was calling to ask if Buddy could come over to play.  She said that since it is spring break, she asked the kid if he wanted to invite a friend over to play.  He suggested his "best friend."  I didn't even really know Buddy was friends with him.  Buddy was gone all day today, so when he got home I asked him about the kid.  He said, "Well our teacher at church told us that he didn't have any friends and feels lonely in our class, so I've been making sure he doesn't feel like that any more."

...So while the crossing guard story is really, REALLY funny, it's not an accurate reflection of his big heart. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rudy at Two Months

I have had a hard time sitting down to write about our baby because... he is just so amazing.  I know I won't be able to articulate my love and his awesomeness.  He has been so much fun and such a blessing.  But I wanted to try to detail his life lately.  I wrote emails to my older boys' birthmoms weekly or every other week when they were first born.  But Rudy's birthmom prefers texts.  I don't want him to miss out on the details of his early life, so I will try to document as much as possible here on the blog to preserve the memories. 

Rudy is 2.5 months, but people assume he's much older.  I get, "Oh, he's darling!  Is he about 4 months?" all day.  People at the store, the lady taking his picture, people at church, the guy at the Taco Bell drive-thru, even the pediatrician said he looks and acts developmentally like a 4-month old baby.  At his 2-month appointment he was 12 pounds (65th percent) and 23 inches long (45 percent) but he carries all his weight in his face (like my other two).  He is very barrel-chested and so he looks really, really big.  Plus he has a full head of hair.  And he is really interactive and will smile and coo at anyone who looks at him.  It all adds up to him seeming older.  SAD!  I really, really wish I could freeze time because there is nothing better than having a newborn.  And this little newborn is growing up way too fast.
Rudy is just so sweet.  I am surprised he has any cheeks left, considering how many times a day I kiss them.  I could just eat him, he is so squishy.  He has reddish-brown curly hair.  It gets less curly as I rub my hands and face all over it all day, but after his bath it is really, really curly and getting curlier with time.  He hasn't lost any of his hair yet, but it is considerably lighter then when he was born.  He has really pale skin, red-head skin.  Interestingly enough, he looks exactly like Buddy did when he was this age.  Same color hair, same eyes, same squishy cheeks, same chest, same fat legs, same spoiled milk smell.
...And same personality.  Oh boy, we are in BIG trouble with this baby.  Buddy was the most active baby, toddler, and boy I've ever associated with.  And this third baby of ours is just the same.  He loves to jump on my lap, he kicks his legs constantly, his neck is strong and totally steady on his head, he loves tummy time.  Plus he looks all around and is totally aware of everything.  When he wakes up from a nap and I pick him up, he turns his head back and forth, back and forth to look at everything to see if anything has changed since he went to sleep.  Buddy used to do that too.

Rudy rolls over all the time.  I still am not sure if it's on purpose or what, but he's done it probably 30 times now.  He first rolled over at 8 days old and hasn't stopped.  But he only does it when his clothes are off. 

He is just like his older brother socially too, but more so.  He is very interactive.  He smiled and cooed at 5 weeks.  He makes eye contact with anyone that looks at him.  He tracks us as we walk around.  If he can hear us, or if the kids are wrestling or loud nearby but aren't playing with him, he tries to get their attention and has been doing that for several weeks.  He kicks his legs and yells out for them to notice him.
I'm not sure if he laughs or not.  He squeals from the belly and coughs as a giant smile stretches clear across his face, then he gets the hiccups.  It's not a true laugh like what you normally hear from an infant, but he's been doing that for a few weeks now. And it is so incredibly cute, I can hardly stand it.

He has no interest in toys yet.  Not even the mat with hanging toys that my other two boys LOVED at this age (and earlier actually). He does, however, love being held.  He loves being sung to.  His favorite songs are "Wheels on the Bus," and "Old McDonald."  He also likes to be played with any which way.  Toys are no fun.  Big brothers that rough-house and adoring mamas are VERY fun.
So yes, he is held a ton.  He is pretty much incapable of laying on the floor or sitting in his seat by himself.  I know this is normal for the age, but I think we've also contributed to the problem.  Oh well.  The "I want to be held constantly" window is so short for babies, I don't mind.

He sleeps wonderfully.  I'm not going to brag too much because I've learned people don't want to hear it... but he sleeps through the night from 10pm until 7am, sometimes later if the older kids are quiet.  He has been doing it consistently since 8 weeks, but was hit or miss since 6 weeks.  Of my three, he was the hardest to train because he loves his binky but it wouldn't stay in.  Plus it was hard to be up all night training him and have to be up early to take the older kids to school.  But I stuck to my guns even though I was so tired I was seeing stars most days and nights.  And it paid off.  He has never once "cried it out" during the night.  He was sleeping in his bouncy seat until this past weekend because he chokes in his sleep and I wanted him upright.  But he seems to be getting better about that, so we moved him to his crib without any trouble at all.  In fact, I think he sleeps better in the crib.  He was so wiggly, he would slide down the seat and almost fall out sometimes. 

Three babies.  Three different personalities and sleep patterns.  All sleep trained early enough that they didn't even know what was happening.  I have seriously considered selling my sleep-training services.  I know how tired I was for 6ish weeks, and I would have paid good money to have someone else do the dirty work.  (But honestly, I'm not going to judge you if your baby doesn't sleep.  I can't get my oldest son to do things most 9-year olds do easily, so I have my strengths and weaknesses in my parenting.)
He loves to be swaddled and doesn't really try to get out like my other two did.  (We called/call Sambo Houdini for good reason.)  Rudy is my first baby that has been sleep trained with my special swaddle-velcro-straight-jacket-blanket.  My sister told me about it when Sambo was three months, so we started him on it then.  But it has been wonderful to have from the start with this baby.  What a brilliant invention!

He is a pretty good eater too.  His birthmom nursed him constantly in the hospital for two days, but luckily he had no issues switching to a bottle and formula.  He eats 4 ounces every three hours.  I have him on a very strict schedule because it stresses me out to be trying to get out the door for school pickup or whatever, and having him cry because he needs to eat.  So I worked out a plan that fits with our day and it has been great.  He knows when it's time to eat and wakes up and starts smacking his lips.  I feed him at 7am, 10, 1, 4, 7, and 10pm.  Sometimes (usually) he takes a really long time to eat... like 45 minutes.  He wiggles quite a bit and shakes his head around and isn't the type to just sit there, relax and eat, but it's not too bad.  If I need him to hurry up, I use a bottle with a faster flow and he eats quicker.  I save those bottles for times I day I'm busier.  I'm a freaking genius, I tell you.  He burps at least twice, sometimes up to four times each bottle.  

He was extremely gassy as a newborn.  He wasn't fussy because he easily got his gas out.  You've heard the term:  "silent but deadly."  His pediatrician was lucky enough to smell his gas and encouraged me to switch him to "gentle" formula.  His birthmom's older son also needed gentle formula, so it was an obvious decision.  He has not had a problem with gas since.  The funny thing about the gas, though, was nobody wanted to hold him at first because he smelled so bad.  I loved this, of course, because then I didn't have to share him.  He does spit up like crazy.  Our other two did too.  The first time he spit up, PTSD came on like a wave and that's no joke.  He is always soaked, he always smells like spoiled cheese, and our carpets, clothes and couches are destroyed.  He is a volcano!  But I actually think he is the least bad of the three.  He is the first that hasn't had to be medicated, so that's good.  And he is happy and chubby, so he's not bothered by it. 
He is a mommy's boy.  My first!  Buddy was everybody's boy and Sambo was/is a daddy's boy.  This little baby adores me and I love it!  He reacts so strongly to me and gives me the biggest smiles every time I look at him.  And he much prefers me to hold him.  I got the first smiles and coos.  I worked hard for this baby, so I think I deserve all the love he gives me!
A few other things:  he hasn't been sick yet, which is saying something considering he was born in the middle of flu season.  And considering he is man-handled constantly.  But me and Sambo are vigilantes about hand-washing, so I think that's helped.  I am so grateful because by this age Sambo had been to the hospital and doctor for stomach flu and RSV.

He loves to suck.  He loves his binky, but still can't keep it in his mouth.  He is no respecter of binkies either.  He gladly will suck on any type and we have three different kinds, trying to figure out which stays in his mouth the best.  He loves sucking on his hands now too.  I'm imagining a real challenge keeping all the kids' Legos, rocks, and other small toys out of his mouth in a few short months.

And he is such a squeaky little baby.  This is definitely his trademark, besides his big smiles.  We can hear him squeaking in his crib even with his door closed.  He definitely has perfected the response to "what does an elephant say?"  Unfortunately, I have noticed this week that he is squeaking less and less.  I'm going to miss his newborn sounds so much.  Fortunately, we've tried to get his squeaks on video as much as possible so we never forget. 

He was born with a point elf ear, which was perfect for Christmas.  It's starting to fold over now, which is too bad because it is really cute.  

Oh, how we love him.  We each kiss him approximately 7000 times per day.  He is perfect, precious, and so squishy. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Preparing For Easter

I find the following story extremely funny.  This one story tells you every thing you need to know about Sambo's personality and why I say he is so easy and crazy all at the same time. 

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to do some sort of challenge.  We have our "summer challenge" and our "reading challenge" and we did a Valentine's activity (it wasn't really a challenge, but sort of).  And this year we decided to start an annual "Easter Challenge" to get us focused, ready and excited for Easter.  At the end of our challenges we always celebrate with a family activity. 

Our Easter Challenge put simply:  we have a list of different activities we can do.  We put a marble in a jar for every activity we complete.  If we fill up the jar before Easter we will go bowling as a family.  We've been at the challenge for about 10 days and so far it's been really fun and good to focus on the purpose of Easter.  We are all really into it and we share what we accomplished during the day each night at dinner. 

So on Sunday during the sacrament I leaned over and reminded Sambo that by focusing on Jesus during the sacrament he could earn a marble.  He was glad for the reminder because he is VERY eager about the challenge.  I told him to go remind Buddy, who was sitting at the end of our row.  After reverently whispering to Buddy, Sambo came back and sat down by me.  He ceased his drawing he had been doing and bowed his head and prayed.  I sort of laughed to myself at how pious he was being, but he loves earning marbles, so I wasn't too surprised.

A little while later I got G's attention because Sambo was still being exceedingly reverent.  G informed me that Sambo had whispered to Buddy to remember to think about the Easter Bunny during the sacrament.

It caught me so off-guard, I literally laughed out loud.  He is such a contrast of sweet and clever and sneaky.  I hope I never forget this story.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


G and I are both the oldest, so we know the annoyance of having younger siblings do what we did when we were growing up.  Apparently I wasn't all that cool because my siblings didn't copy me anything close to the way that Sambo copies and idolizes his big brother.  I have no way to articulate they way that Sambo looks at Buddy.  The way he follows him all over the house.  The way he is always tagging along when they are playing at the park or riding bikes.  The way he stares at Buddy instead of the camera when they are posing for pictures, so he can make sure he's doing exactly what Buddy is doing.  (see above) They way Buddy makes a homemade card for my birthday and Sambo replicates it exactly.

 Sitting in church today. 

Today we looked over at the two of them during church.  They were dressed the same for starters:  blue shirts, khakis, and glasses.  They both had their pads of paper and pencils.  Buddy was drawing Shaun White symbols and Sambo was precisely copying him.  It was so cute.  It was just a perfect snapshot of how they are.  My heart grew in my love for them, watching Sambo look up to his brother, and watching Buddy {mostly} allow it.

Here is some of their artwork.  Buddy's on the left.  Sambo's on the right.

Here is more artwork.  Buddy's are on the ends.  Sambo copied both of these onto one drawing in the middle.

In somewhat related news.  Yesterday Buddy invented a game, complete with written rules.  The boys played this game for at least three hours yesterday.  It was so darling. 

And in completely unrelated news, G made meatloaf all by himself for dinner tonight.  He does not enjoy cooking, so I was completely shocked when he printed off a recipe for Pioneer Woman meatloaf the other day and informed me he was going to make it for dinner on Sunday.  And he didn't want any help.  Sambo did help him.  Although I had a twitch the first 10 minutes of the cooking experience, I eventually let go of the need to control/help and let him do it.  It turned out perfect.  It was delicious!  I was sincerely impressed. 

P.S.  How proud of me are you that I figured out how to do these photo collages in Picasa?  I'm extremely clueless about stuff like this, so yay for me!  First G stretches himself by following a recipe.  Then I follow a tutorial online.  All in one evening.  What is going on here?!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cinco Sambo

We have a lot to share, but I can't type with a baby in my arms.  And I don't put my baby down unless I absolutely have to.  So I'm impossibly behind on updating this blog. 

But first before I tell all about our baby Rudy, I have to tell you about how Sambo turned 5 (2.5 months ago...).

Sambo is fantastic.  I am really, really glad he's my boy.  I've said it before and I'll keep saying it all his life:  Sambo's personality compliments mine perfectly.  I rarely get annoyed with him.  He is quite a handful for some people, but he's not for me.  He is extremely obedient and helpful.  He is just as responsible as I am, which pleases me beyond explanation.  He knows how the family runs, he knows our habits and schedules, he knows where things go, he notices when people are sad or overwhelmed, and he springs to action.  I love having him home with me and am very distressed about him going to Kindergarten in the fall.  I think he'll do great (unless his teacher gets annoyed by energetic type-A children)... but I will be terribly lonely for him.

He is very spunky.  He is active and sneaky and very loud.  He is both crazy and calm.  I can't explain it, really.  He just is.  He can keep up with his older brother and all his brother's friends no problem, so that explains a lot.
 The birthday boy enjoying a McDonalds lunch.

His birthday haul. 

 We didn't do a friend party for him, but he wanted a "spider birthday" anyway, so these are the cupcakes I whipped up.  You already know I'm horrible at making cakes/cupcakes, so don't judge.  And let's also not talk about the fact that G and I went out on a very exciting date to the Killers concert the evening of his birthday, so the boys went to my awesome friend's house.  Sambo was NOT sad about this.  It was the greatest thing I could do for him actually, since he wants her to be his mom anyway.  Just so you don't' think I'm a total failure as a mother, I celebrated with him all day, including telling him he might be getting a new brother, taking him mini golfing, and taking him to McDonalds.  And the next night we partied as a family at his favorite pizza/game place.

 This was his birthday party with his birthfamily and here he is with his beautiful birthmom.  This was taken just after Rudy was born!!!!!!  I was texting all evening with Rudy's birthmom about her delivery and his entry into the world while this party was happening.  CRAZY.

He has had a speech delay and he still isn't very vocal or competitive, so most people don't know how bright he is.  You really have to pay attention, but of course I do, and he has a very sharp mind and is very clever.  He is a quick learner. He learned to read easily.  His spelling is exceptional.  He started writing notes to people a few weeks ago and I was shocked at how well he can sound words out. 
He is athletic and can do anything his older brother can do.  G takes the boys skiing a couple times a month and according to G, Sambo is really good.  This summer Sambo got annoyed because Buddy and his friends would swim in the deep end and leave him alone in the "baby section" at the pool.  He begged me to let him go in the deep end.  I wouldn't let him do it alone until he could swim across the pool on his own.  So, he showed me right then and there that he could do it.  And he could! I never taught him to swim and he never had any lessons, he just did it. 

 After skiing.

 Building his new Legos on Christmas.

He is very creative.  He loves doing crafts and building things.  He sifts through our recycling almost every day and comes up with projects.  He can build Legos by himself, following the instructions or making up his own ideas.  His birth family is made up of several professional artists (several different mediums) and he most certainly has the creative gene.  In fact it's funny because he comes home in a huff most preschool days annoyed that the mom/teacher wouldn't let him cut or glue things himself, or because they wrote his name for him on his projects.  He is very capable and most people wouldn't expect such fine motor skills from a little boy.  He has replaced the batteries in all our baby gear and all the toys this house.  I had to buy two new Costco packs of batteries because he replaced so many.  He can work a screwdriver better than I can.  Too bad we have no engineers in our family because he needs a mentor.

He loves to sing, he loves to cook, and he loves Legos.  He is a hard worker and will always help me do anything.  He is our designated dishwasher emptier and he runs and grabs new burp clothes, my phone, or a diaper all day long.  He is independent.  He doesn't need me to do things for him.  In fact, that's the worst kind of threat/punishment/bribery.  (Do you want me to buckle your seatbelt for you?  Then you better hurry into the car!  Do you want me to feed you?  Then you better sit down and eat!)

And he is darling.  Oh, this might just be his very best talent.  Everything he does and says is cute.  And my goodness, he manages to get cuter every day. 

Skiing again.

 Sambo helping build Rudy's new dresser.

He is an excellent little brother because he admires and appreciates everything Buddy does for him. But what has really surprised us is what a great BIG brother he is. He is very nurturing and kind toward his baby brother.  He is soft and gentle and loves to help.  He sings him songs every day. He picks him up when he cries and I'm busy.  He has asked me numerous times to teach him how to take care or Rudy: things like how to do tummy time, how to change diapers, how to give baths, how to buckle his carseat, and how to wear the front carrier.  He hasn't been jealous one single bit.  Quite the opposite actually.  He is very proud of his baby and brags about him to everyone.  
He is sensitive and cries during most movies.  He can't handle seeing someone hurt or sad, either in a movie, a story, or in real life.  He cries when he feels the spirit.  He also defends Buddy when he gets in trouble and will do things to cheer him up or make him feel loved.  Yesterday while Buddy was in the middle of a lying incident, Sambo whispered encouraging things in his ear to coach him through the experience.  "You are being embarrassing.  Just tell mom," he kept saying.  And Buddy does NOT resent this.  He appreciates all the help.  In fact, he was lying to cover up one of Sambo's mistakes!  He loves surprising Buddy after school with a special craft he has made for him.  One day last week he wrapped three "presents" for Buddy to open after he got his list of jobs done (he had racked up lots from poor behavior).  Sambo put them on the mantle to motivate him.  When Buddy was done he was overjoyed to open a box of Thomas the Trains (LOL!!!!) and random snacks Sambo had pulled from our pantry. Today he asked his preschool teacher for a leftover bird craft project so he could make one for Buddy, since Buddy loves birds. 

He brings balance to our high-strung family.  We all just love him so much. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Introducing Rudy

Our little baby boy is already two months old!  I go back and forth between deep sadness that time is going so fast and also excitement about his bright future.  Fortunately, I don't have any regrets about the time I've spent holding him and staring at him these past nine weeks.  I've tried really hard to make him a priority and to savor every single day with him, since he'll likely be our last baby. 

I absolutely LOVE babies, especially newborns.  I love they way the cuddle.  I love the way they curl into a ball or arch their back when I lay them on my shoulder.  I love their smell.  I love their soft wrinkly skin.  I love their soft silky hair.  I love their squeaks.  I love the long feedings.  I love coaxing those first smiles.  I love engaging them to get their first laughs.  I love giving them baths.  I love changing diapers.  I love watching their reflexes.  I love their coos.  I love the way they stare at my face and the lights in the room.  I love the way they look for my voice when I'm not holding them.  I love the way my life slows down when caring for a newborn.  I love sitting on the couch for days and weeks and just looking at them.  I know many people feel bored and that the monotony of caring for a newborn is unproductive or depressing.  But I feel more alive and more like myself when I have one in my arms.  There is nothing in the whole world that is more exciting and more enjoyable and makes me feel more productive than caring for my little Rudy Rooster.  I just love this.  I wish time would slow down. 

I will add more details about what he's learning and what he's like soon.  And I'll tell about his adoption and birth soon too. ...As well as finally highlight Sambo's 5th birthday.  Stay tuned!