Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pool Time

In those years of dreaming of my future babies, I had pictures in my mind of the things our family would do together. They looked kind of like these....

A loving daddy and his beautiful daughter


More smiles!


It takes just as long to get them prepared to go to the pool and to get them out of the pool, dried off and dressed as it does to go swimming because they only last about an hour once we are in the pool...but it's so worth it! We love it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On The Verge

Both of my babies are on the verge of big things. Jackson has taken steps on his own in the past couple of days! He started taking about 2 steps between things and then tonight he took a full 5 steps going from the ottoman to his play table. He just balances himself standing and then takes off! It is so amazing to watch. I am continuously in awe of my little man. Addison is also on the verge of mobility. She has been getting up on her hands and knees and rocking for the past few days. She can scooch around the floor pretty competently. She is only 5+ months! Jackson did not even come close to crawling until around 7+ months! I'm sure Addison is more advanced because she spends all of her time on her tummy. Jackson could never do that because of his reflux. No matter the "whys," I am just loving every single moment of watching them grow. It is, of course, bittersweet. But to see them happy and thriving makes me love every day of my life with them. Truly. Every. Day. I give it less than a month and I will have 1 walker and 1 crawler on my hands. And then I will REALLY be busy (I thought I had been up until now!).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Visit to See His First Mom

Jackson took the long road trip (with us of course) to see his first mom yesterday. He was such a good boy on the way there, sleeping most of the 3 hour drive so we didn't have to stop! We breezed through security, which was nice. But then we waited 40 minutes for T to come out because the guards didn't tell her we were there. Gotta love it. Anyway, Jackson showed almost no anxiety with her. We immediately gave her the stuff to feed him and he reacted just like everything was normal! He smiled at her and talked to her. He let her hold him and play with him. Which is a big deal because Jackson can rock some serious stranger anxiety...and he hasn't seen T since December! T really loved seeing him and thanked us over and over again for bringing him. She knows it's a rough trip - we usually drive about 7 hours total for a 2-3 hour visit with her. But we know it's worth it, for Jackson's sake.

The sweetest moments came when we were saying goodbye. T was holding him and he snuggled into her body. He kept giving her kisses on her cheeks and then hugging her. This is AMAZING because he very rarely does this, with ANYone. I fully believe that babies store sensory memories of their moms - I know that her smell, voice and the rhythm of her body were all familiar to our sweet boy. And I'm so happy he was able to show her how much he loves her, how important she is. Babies are amazing in their capacity for love, and in their ability to show it to us just when we need them to.

We continue to be blessed with an open relationship with Jackson's birthparents. It is always a dance of boundaries and requires grace and openness on both sides. But, to see Jackson snuggle with his first mom...well, there are no words. I'm just so happy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jackson is 11 Months Old!

Oh. My. Goodness. My baby is practically a toddler. Jackson will be one in a just a month! This little guy is on the go, all the time. He loves to be moving and getting into everything! He pants (like a dog) when he crawls around and he is always sweating by the time we get him down for a nap because he has been playing so hard! Jackson is very close to walking. He stands on his own for at least 10 seconds before he figures out he is not holding on to anything and lowers himself (quite gracefully) to the floor. It's amazing to watch. Jackson now eats primarily the food we eat instead of jars of baby food, and he loves it! This kid won't complain, though, as long as we are shoveling food into his mouth:)! We did find one thing he doesn't care for - plain yogurt. Go figure! Jackson is a kid who needs his sleep. He takes 2 naps a day, usually 1.5 - 2.5 hours each (today one was 3 hours and one was 2 hours!). And then he goes to bed around 7pm and gets up around 8am. I love that he needs his sleep...just like his mommy:).

Jackson began doing the 2 cutest things ever this month. First, he now "dances" to music. He bounces up and down and gets all excited when music comes on, even the music from his toys. It is beyond adorable. And secondly, he gives kisses - usually to Addison. He leans over and puts his lips on her gently, usually on her forehead. Just tonight, he got excited when I put Addison on the floor and immediately crawled over to her and gave her 3 kisses. Then he started playing and randomly in the middle of his playing, he would stop and give her a kiss. What a sweet, sweet big brother he is! We get them from him sometimes, too, but not as much as Addy does. We have never formally taught him to give kisses, he just does it. I'm not surprised he learned it, though, because we literally kiss these babies all day long. How could you not with those cheeks? Jackson also has figured out that when he shakes toys that rattle, I sing the "shake, shake, shake...shake your booty" song. So he now shakes rattles and then looks at me with a big expectant smile on his face. Love it!

We could not get our normal adorable pictures of Jackson this month because he was too busy trying to get movin'! But let me tell you, he is the most precious little boy ever! His personality continues to unfold with each month. We have learned that he has quite the temper - and HATES it when we don't let him have the TV and video game remotes! I thought 11 months was too young for tantrums...but nope. But when he is happy, he just shines. And lucky for us, he is happy a lot! This month is bittersweet. I am so happy Jackson is healthy and happy and growing like crazy. all went by SO fast. This may be the last post I write before he starts walking. That makes me sad. He was a little baby for such a short time. I just love him so much and want to treasure every second I have with him. He is such a light in our lives.

We love you, sweet boy! Happy 11 months!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Addison is 5 Months Old!!

Our sweet baby girl is 5 months old and what a fun age this is! Addison now spends most of her time on her belly. She flips right over from her back and then stays there. She is getting better as of this week at flipping back over to her back, but she still isn't doing it consistently. She instead pushes up on her arms and looks around and plays with toys if we put them in front of her. She also gets up on her knees with her little butt up in the air and scooches backwards a lot. Addison sleeps on her belly a lot now, too, and when I have checked on her, I find her with her little arms folded under her and her butt up in the air. So cute! We started putting her "lovey" in her crib with her and she does sometimes wake up and play with it in there. Addison started playing in the jumperoo in the last couple of weeks and really likes to bounce in there. Gosh, she is getting too big! She is getting good at grabbing toys and bringing them to her mouth and can now hold a toy in each hand and alternate chewing on them.

Addison still gets up twice to eat before wake up time in our house. She usually gets up around 2am and then again around 6 or 7am. Because we need to keep both babies on the same schedule, we don't let them get out of bed until around 8am. That starts the day on a good schedule and ensures (usually) that they nap at the same time. So, when Addison gets up between 6 and 7am to eat and wants to wake up for the day, I have had to put her back to bed in order to get her on a better schedule. It's hard for me to lay her back down in the morning because she is being SO cute - cooing, smiling and kicking those legs. Her eyes are wide with excitement for her day and if I didn't have two babies' schedules to consider, she would certainly have me playing with her at that time:). She has done a great job the last couple of days in going back to sleep, even though I know she would rather stay up and play. She is just too sweet. Addison also started cereal yesterday. She is NOT a fan. She makes very disgusted faces and spits it out. We'll just keep trying. Because she tends to "snack" when she nurses and rarely does full feedings during the day, I'd like to start her on baby food sometime this month. I want to be sure she is getting enough calories...and maybe, just maybe, it'll help her sleep longer at night:).

Addison has such a sweet little personality. She is extremely quiet compared to Jackson. She can be playing for 15 minutes happily without making a sound. Jackson has NEVER gone that long without making noise, lol! She is a very serious baby and observes her surroundings very carefully. That is why she doesn't smile for pictures - she is too busy checking out the camera, light, flash, etc. Addison very rarely has "melt downs" and most often just screeches and whines until she gets what she wants - which is usually some attention or to just be put down for a nap because she is tired. She seems to be very even tempered and it is great! We are able to disrupt her schedule at times and she generally can just go with the flow. Addy is such an amazing joy. I can't wait to get her out of her crib each day to hug her and kiss her and squeeze her. We love her so, so much.

Happy 5 months, princess!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One of Them Was Adopted

I am finding it difficult to go out anywhere without questions about our babies. How are they so close together? And the only answer I have is, "Because one of them was adopted." But, of course, that brings the next obvious question..."which one?"

It's not that Jackson's adoption is a secret, or anything that we are ashamed of. But, I do want him to be able to share with the people he wants, when he wants. And that is just not possible right now because of the obvious small age difference between them. One of the reasons we decided to not adopt trans-racially was because we didn't want our child's story to be obvious every time we went out with him. We wanted our family to be able to be out and about and not have to tell our story every time we drew any kind of attention. I admire families who are able to do this around issues of race, ethnicity, etc. We just didn't feel up to it.

But, of course, things did not go quite as we planned. We do draw attention, and therefore questions. And so now we are faced with an interesting dilemma. How do we explain our situation without Jackson's entire story being a part of the conversation? First people want to know which one was adopted, then they want to know WHY we adopted - because, of course, if we can have biological children, why would we adopt? That is our culture's understanding of adoption - people only do it as a last resort. Adoption was never our last resort, but it was our answer to the never-ending loss that trying to conceive produced for us. So, of course, when people ask, I feel compelled to tell people that we had trouble conceiving...because I know the assumption behind the question. But is it really their business why we adopted? I love people's open and honest curiosity, I really do. I want our story to be heard, the hope in it is beautiful. I just want it to be done in a way that respects each and every one of our family members.

I am so proud of our family, of how we came together, of the clear hand of God in all of it. We could not have planned out or produced such a unique and gorgeous family ourselves. So, my hesitation at telling the entire story to every stranger has nothing to do with shame! Mostly, I want to protect Jackson. As he gets older, I do not want him to feel like his story is not his own, that every stranger on the street now knows it, that he is singled out as "the adopted one" in our family. So, I have to figure out a way to answer probing questions with vagueness as well as kindness. I know some of you reading have been there, or are currently there, with your children. Any ideas are more than welcomed!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our day in pictures...

We got out of the house today! Always an accomplishment. We try to go out every other day or so with the babies now - usually in the couple of hours between morning and afternoon naps. It's always a dance to make that work between their nap times:). We spent a little time at the park today - our first time doing that with them. Jax went on a swing for the first time, climbed steps for the first time and played in the grass for the first time! I'd say it was successful, and we even beat the monsoon headed into town!

Addy gettin' some sun - but not too much! Is that bonnet not the cutest thing?! She is lovin' her new Beco Gemini carrier - we finally found a winning carrier for her:)!

First time in a swing! Fun!

Daddy is taking the picture, but look at those cute babies:). Even Rory got out to play at the dog park today!

First time in grass - there is not too much of that down here in Arizona. He didn't seem to mind it at all! Gotta love his adventurous nature:)!