Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Family Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas! It was our first Christmas as a complete family and it was perfect. Everyone was healthy and happy and able to enjoy the holiday, and that is more than I ever could have asked for! We got together with our friends and their family on Christmas Eve and had such a great time with them. Then we had a quiet day at home on Christmas Day until Jason had to go to work. We opened presents, ate lots of yummy food, played outside and watched Christmas movies. It just can't get any better than that!

I found myself wondering how life got so good so fast. Two Christmas' ago, we were grieving our second baby and wondering if the holidays would ever hold magic for us again. This year, we baked lots of holiday cookies, put out presents from Santa on Christmas Eve, watched our babies wake up to a pile of presents under the tree, enjoyed seeing them tear through wrapping, and started a few of our own traditions as a family. I just can't get over how fun this holiday is with my babies. And now the part you are probably waiting for:)...

I am LOVING dressing my little girl. Especially for special occasions:).

This was our attempt at a picture of both of them in front of the tree. Oh well, maybe next year....

The happy family!

Santa came!!

Addison's favorite gift by far. She hasn't stopped playing with this thing. She crawls back and forth through it squealing and rolling and having an absolute blast!

Jackson liked his pony!

He was so serious about the present unwrapping, it was just too cute! He could have cared less about what was inside, lol!

Santa left this outside - and Jackson LOVED it!

Seeing them together makes my heart skip a beat. Every time.

Santa gave this to them over a month ago, but it's still technically a Christmas present:).

This was my most treasured gift this year. I will never forget my first Christmas with both of my babies with me. They are my life. I love them so, so much.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope yours was as blessed as mine!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Adoption is incredible!

I'm very tired, but as promised, I want to tell you about some amazing visits Jackson has had with his birthfamily lately.

First, he saw his birthmom, T, a few weeks ago. He was his normal, happy and charismatic self. She had a blast running around after him and showing him off to everyone she knew there. She told other prisoners and guards, "This one is mine. I had him while I was in "x" unit." I had a minor pang when she used those words. Because he is mine. But, yes, he is hers too. He will always be ours. That is the hard part about adoption. The part I'm pretty sure a lot of adoptive parents have a hard time acknowledging. But it can also be beautiful, as I will describe later. She thanked us many times that day for taking the time and expense to go visit her and again in the letter she wrote after the visit. I just wanted to say to her..."How are you thanking me? You gave me your sweet baby boy! You deemed me good enough to be his mom. You trusted him in my arms! I will spend my whole life thanking you!" Of course, I don't say all of that, but I do tell her that she has no need to thank us, that it is very important to us that they are in each other's lives and that Jackson knows her. I hope she knows how grateful I am that she chose me. She had so many choices. And she made a good choice for my sweet boy. She put his needs first. For that I will always love her.

And then, last weekend, Jackson's birthdad, A, and his parents came to see Jackson...and Addison. It was the first time his parents had met Jackson. His mom cried when she first saw him, and again when they said goodbye. She told us he looked just like A when he was little - no surprise because he looks just like him now! They even emailed us a picture of A at Jackson's age and holy cow! That infectious smile definitely comes from A! They talked to us about how hard it was to make the decision to not take Jackson themselves. And how happy they are that he is with us. They called us a "perfect family." Oh, don't I wish. But I think they need to believe that. They brought such thoughtful and amazing gifts for both of my babies. They spoiled them really. They showed Addison just as much love and attention as they did Jackson, and that was good for my momma heart. Because of Jackson's adoption, we ALL gained another family. I have a feeling they will be a wonderful support to us and our children for many years to come. They are incredible people. Jason and I talked later and it was interesting to us that A's parents are SO much like Jason's parents. We know that A and T chose us because we were so much like them. But the similarities are striking!

There was a poignant moment when A was visiting that I don't ever want to forget. I'm not even sure anyone else noticed it. Jackson got on his turtle (and riding toy) and the base was half on the rug, half on the hard floor. It was wobbly. Both Jason and A rushed forward to adjust it and stabilize keep my sweet boy safe. At that moment, I thought about how lucky Jackson is. He has FOUR people who love him as a parent would love their child. We are his parents, but his birthparents also love him intensely. And then he has all of their extended family. What a lucky boy he is. And he deserves it all. He is a fantastically brilliant, funny and engaging little boy. The sky is his limit in this life. And he has all of us behind him, ready to celebrate his successes and pick up the pieces when he gets hurt. Adoption is simply incredible.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Addison is 10 Months Old!

Our little princess is 10 months old and not so little anymore! She is growing and learning like crazy and I can see the little independent toddler coming out in her - just a month or two and she will be walking around and creating more distance between me and her. Sigh...

Addy continues to be a quiet soul. She is so laid back and really just goes with the flow. She can skip a nap if needed and still stay relatively easy and well behaved. She has had to have sitters twice this month and was a perfect angel both times! If she and Jax are playing in a room, it's hard to remember she's even there sometimes because she can play so quietly and contently. She is concentrating so hard on the play and the learning she is doing. That's not to say that she can't be pretty loud and demanding if needed. She is a momma's girl and if I happen to leave the room when she thinks she needs me, the whole world will hear her protest. It does my heart good to know she still needs me!

Addy decided a few weeks ago that she actually does like baby food and has resumed eating 3 meals a day. We have no idea what started the "solid food strike" but we sure are glad it is over. The all-liquid diet led to poopy diaper blowouts 3 or 4 times a day. Not cool. Addison is still getting up twice a night to eat, but at least she goes right back to sleep and at least she stopped that 3 times a night business. I am coming to wonder if it was a growth spurt. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's over. Now if we could start cutting down to 1 feeding a night, I'd be set! Addison has her own way of telling us if she wants something or not - she shakes her head "no no" when she doesn't and she claps her hands if she does. It is hilarious to pull out a box of cereal or something and see her in her chair clapping her hands at me like she's saying "Yes, mommy, I want that!" She is just a riot!

Addison is incredibly gorgeous. Her beautiful blonde hair is definitely noticed by many. And it curls around the edges, especially after baths, and is so adorable! Her piercing blue eyes are also a striking feature of hers! She loves her big brother and likes to follow him around the house. And she is definitely the baby of the house and my precious little girl. I have the cutest Christmas outfit picked out for her, complete with a personalized onesie and tutu:). Love it! I am loving every second with my baby girl. It is hard to believe she is mere weeks away from turning 1. I still am unsure how I will do with that big milestone. My babies sure are growing at light speed. Happy 10 months, baby doll! Mommy adores you!

*On a side note, today is December 18. Two years ago today, we lost our second baby. Our world was rocked. The grief was indescribable. And now I am posting about my youngest child - I have TWO! CRAZY! I will always have an awful feeling in my stomach every time I remember our losses. But our incredible blessings have taken up so much space in my heart, I don't have to live deep in that place of loss anymore. I am so blessed. I will remember my second baby tonight, and I will allow myself to be sad, and then I will go to sleep with my 2 living babies sleeping just down the hall from me. And then I will be happy again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Coffe Ain't Cuttin' It

I know I have been a bad blogger. In my defense, I have 2 very needy babies. And I've been sick for about 2 months on and off. Can't seem to get well before the next wave of yuckiness takes over my body. It's awful. Which brings me to my blog subject today - sleep, or my lack of it. I am so very tired. Addison just won't sleep well. She has always been up 2 times a night, and that has been hard enough. Recently she has had a cold and sometimes won't go back to sleep. So we are up for an hour or two in the middle of the night and that is just for one feeding. And then, to top it off, the last few days, she has gotten up not once, not twice but THREE times! It is pretty much every 2 hours. I usually get one 3 hour chunk all night and the rest of my chunks are 1-2 hours. It's not enough. No wonder I can't get well.

I am starting to wonder if she is not getting enough milk at night. She nurses pretty quickly and continues sucking like she wants more, not just the sucking for comfort. She has been crying more when I put her down to bed, too. So last night I made up a bottle of breastmilk with 2 teaspoons of rice cereal in it (she won't eat cereal so I can't spoon feed it). It was the first bottle I have given her since she was a newborn and needed me to supplement. I figured she'd refuse it. I decided to try and give her a bottle and then nurse and see how it went. The good news is she sucked down the bottle, had a full nursing session, and went to sleep pretty easily. The bad news is she was still up 3 times - 12:30am, 2:30am and 5:30am. It was miserable. But, again, she doesn't seem to get a lot of milk in those midnight feedings. Has anyone else had your milk supply just diminish around 9 or 10 months? I am taking domperidone still, but I'm wondering if it's not working anymore. When I pump during the day at work, I get about 5 oz. I used to get 6-9oz. So maybe my body is getting ready to wean her?

And if that's the case, I'm going to have a serious cry. I'm not ready to let go. I'm not ready for her to wean. I get only one shot at this and I want this closeness with her for as long as possible. She's already mere months away from becoming a toddler. My heart can't take losing the breastfeeding relationship too. My plan was to nurse her into her second year, even if just at night before bed. I should know that plans don't always work out by now. But every time I think of not nursing her anymore, my heart hurts and I start to well up. I'm not ready.

But I am tired. So I am going to try the bottle before nursing and increase the amount a little each night to see if that helps. Any other ideas are seriously welcomed. I'm exhausted, but I'm also terrified that this means nursing could come to an end sooner rather than later. Please tell me this is not the case!

Since I have been a bad blogger (well, I do read and comment like crazy, so not THAT bad!), here is a sneak peak at upcoming blogs:

Jackson visited his birthmom again!
Jackson's birthfather is coming to visit Jackson this weekend and he is bringing his parents who haven't met him yet - big stuff!
I am writing a piece on infant mental health and adoption for a professional newsletter. When it is done, I will post here.
Christmas with babies is by far the most amazing way to celebrate this holiday. I'm lovin' it!
And Addison turns 10 months old this week!

So much to write about, so little time:). Thanks to those of you who are still reading and sticking with me, if you are out there!