Tuesday, March 29, 2016

D-MAN // coming up on 1 year

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Our precious Big D--what a joy! Such a sweet, chill, happy baby boy. Just some random thoughts and memories from the last few months....walking through a "typical" day for him.

5:30am - A teething D equals a not-sleeping-well D. He started getting some teeth around Christmas, first came 2 on the bottom center, and then 1 on the top left center. Just 3 teeth for awhile, but the other top center tooth has slowly made its way in. We know when he starts waking up in the middle of the night that another tooth is coming.

8:00am - His "normal" awake time is anywhere from 6:30 - 8am. D is now sharing a room with the two big boys, so that sometimes means awake time is earlier than his mama would like. We get him dressed and feed a bottle (one of 3 for the day), and then breakfast, usually applesauce + cereal or plain yogurt. D is wearing 12 month clothes, so pretty much right on schedule for sizes. At his last check-up, he was about 70th percentile for weight and 50th percentile for length.

As soon as D came to us, he started twice weekly visits with his bio mom and two sisters. A couple of months into it, they changed it to one visit with all 3 kids and one visit with just D (to help with the bonding). And then, a few months later, they dropped the Friday visit and kept the Monday morning visit with all 3 kids. It was quite the process: bio mom confirms the night before, case worker lets me know, case worker shows up at our house at 8:30am and we wait for the bio mom to show up at the DCS office. If she's not there by 9am, the visit is cancelled. If she does arrive (which happened only about 1/3 of the time), then the case worker takes D, picks up the sisters from their foster home, drives an hour to the visit, and D arrives back to us around noon. But just 3 weeks ago, visits were cancelled for good until the next court date. It's made Monday mornings so much less stressful!

10am -  This is morning nap time. We still get a solid 2 naps from D and I hope to keep that up as long as possible. When he first came to us, D was not as interested in Bryce, a little unsure, but slowly he has warmed up (much slower to bond with "daddy" than the other two boys). We assume he had very little, if any, contact with men in the first 2.5 months of his life, so that may have something to do with it. But they are best buds now! And he's always excited to see the boys, and now his sisters. His face just lights up and scrunches into a smile--it's adorable.

We were finally able to trim his hair, after waiting weeks for permission from the bio mom. It was crazy-long and curly! With so many tangles and food plastered in it and people asked quite often if he was a girl. (Frustrations of the system--we are trusted to keep him alive and healthy but cannot make the decision to cut hair. As trying as it is, I try to see it with much mercy, since it is one thing the bio mom can have control over for her children.)

11:30am - Lunch time! D was a bit of a difficult eater at first. He had pretty strong affinities (no way to peas or banana!) and tended to choke/gag when it was something he didn't like or if it was too cold, etc. But we've come a long way! He ate homemade purees for many months (loved sweet potato, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, etc.) and now we're transitioning into more options and textures. These days I usually just blend whatever we're eating or cut up tiny little pieces and he's doing pretty well. He likes to clap at the table when we say "Yay!" and makes lots of noise to be heard over the racket of his siblings--he can be loud! D will grin and point his finger across the table at Bryce, wanting to touch fingers with him. It was a happy day when D started to pick up Puffs and feed himself--that way I could get him started on some food and not hear his yelling for more.

1:30pm - Afternoon nap time: turn on the sound machine, kisses, lay him down with a blanket and little animal friend, and then walk out the door. He usually fusses for a little bit when I first lay him down but calms down quickly; he is a good napper for the most part (barring sickness or teething). Speaking of sickness, we had the worst run of sicknesses from October to January, me and the boys. It started with really bad colds, a diarrhea sickness, and then Hand Foot & Mouth disease right after Thanksgiving. That last one was pretty rough and lasted a couple of weeks (JD's fingernails are still growing back in!). Around Christmas, we got a flu of some sort--cold symptoms and fevers, which morphed into ear infections/bronchitis for the younger two and a steroid inhaler for JD. Bryce got the Christmas cold really bad and still has a hole in his eardrum! It was a long couple of months but the warmer weather has arrived and, praise the Lord, we've all been pretty well for a while now.

3pm -  D is awake and ready to play. He usually just makes his way around the living room, library, kitchen and dining room, playing as he goes, following the kids, saying hi to me in the kitchen. For a while we had a doorway jumper hanging in the library and he loved that, as well as the exersaucer. D first started pulling up on the step stool in the kitchen. For a week or two it was his favorite thing to do. Now he is cruising everywhere--so strong! Sitting on his haunches and bouncing. Going from laying on his belly to sitting and playing with toys. It's fun to see his motor skills progress! He still army crawls around for the most part since it's the fastest, but he is able to do a regular crawl, especially when he's pushing a toy car around. D likes to laugh and be loud and is starting to make a lot more sounds. There is definitely more inflection in his voice and he seems to "talk" but there are no real words yet beyond "dadada" and "mamama" and copying a "hi!" sound.

5pm - It's dinner time. When he's hungry, D usually crawls to find me and complain and pull up on me using my pants. Or he'll crawl down into the dining room to find the kids at the table. He goes down the step face-first: catches himself at the bottom with his hands and then slides down on his belly. It's pretty funny to watch people's reactions when they think he's going to fall but just slides down instead. He's the third child (and now the fifth!)...they pretty quickly figure out how to get to where they want to go on their own.

7pm - We still keep a pretty consistent 7pm bedtime for all of the kids, so after dinner it's clean-up time and sometimes baths (usually twice a week--if I can keep up with that, then I feel like we're winning). Then we read books and sing songs. One more bottle for D and change into a diaper one size bigger so that he can last through the night. And then prayers and tuck him in.


He's our littlest man and such an integral part of the family. We love his squishy-ness, the big toothy grins, and his happy & content self. We love you, Big D!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

SOUNDTRACK of my life

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I know, I know. This blog definitely needs a life update. But, in the meantime, here are a few songs that have been on repeat lately.

When the Saints by Sara Groves
Lord it's all that I can carry and cannot leave behind
It all can overwhelm me
But when I think of all who've gone before and lived a faithful life
Their courage compels me.

My Story by Big Daddy Weave
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music
You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing

O God of Mine by Rita Springer
Oh, God of mine who saves the day
Oh, God of mine, Your grace sufficient
And tender mercies new by morn

Thursday, March 10, 2016

JD turned 4!

Our firstborn turned 4 years old on February 8 (a fact that he reminded us daily for 30+ days leading up to that day). This was the first year that he was beyond excited about his birthday. Paper chain to count the days: check! Party with family (lots of cousins!): check! Chocolate cake & ice cream: check! Special sweet cereal (Lucky Charms) and salad for dinner (his request) on the big day: check! It was such fun celebrating our little man!


Stats / Misc: JD weighs about 37 pounds. At the check-up today, he is around 70th percentile for weight and 55th percentile for height. No naps (probably not for the last year)--but this means he falls asleep super quick at night. Usually wakes up around 6:30am and joins me for my morning routine, or sometimes he crawls in bed with me for a quick snuggle before going to the kitchen for a pre-breakfast snack (usually animal crackers).

Favorite foods:  If you ask him this, he'll probably tell you: chocolate, lemon drops, M&M's, grapefruit, eggs (with no veggies or anything mixed in, "just plain"). His sweet tooth is alive and kicking.

Favorite color: I'm not sure if he has one, but he usually requests the purple plates and bowls.

Favorite toys: It depends on the day, but he still loves pretending with cars (usually an oversize flatbed truck, dump truck, and fire truck), legos, trains / tracks, and the play kitchen in his room. JD and Silas are usually doing something together when it's play time and it's so fun to watch them interact. When we have a nice day (and there have been a few this winter), then JD loves to ride his bike around the cul-de-sac....no training wheels, so he can sure ride fast!

Favorite book(s) and song(s): In January we started making regular trips to the library and he enjoys reading the "new" books together when we get home. Right now, we are simultaneously reading through 3 Bible books--because he loves them! We got him a new one for his birthday "Read and Learn Bible" and he's really enjoying it, lots of great questions and discussions. And his favorite song? Bryce sings two Spanish songs to the boys before bed most nights and I couldn't believe it when I heard the boys singing along!

Favorite things to do: Play with Dad and Silas. Unload the dishwasher all by himself. Help "scramble" the scrambled eggs. Watch shows on the computer (Clifford,Curious George, Boz the Bear, 3-2-1 Penguins). Go to church and Bible study (BSF) to see his friends. Have people over to our house.

Learning: Watching Justus learn new things is just such fun to watch. Numbers and letters are starting to click. He loves playing memory games.

Funny sayings:
"Silas, your project is.....you need to go over there and....." (I must say "project" a lot...)
After a long bout of diarrhea, we heard for the next week: "I'm having good poops."
"Silas, you're getting so big. Your head is getting big."

Snuggles on the couch
Mohawk! (very proud)

A hot chocolate treat

Enjoying some new library books

Playing his Cars matching game--and we tied!

Watching the boys on the monitor playing upstairs

Birthday cake!

Eating cake with cousins!

Opening his presents from dad and mom

Playing at the Children's Museum (way too busy to look up at the camera)

First warm day!

Early morning play time