Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: What a Year!

Howdy Y'all!

It was the worst of years, it was the best of years.

(I am going to apologize now because this may get lengthy because I have never really told all the whole story of our time in New York at the beginning of the year.)

This year started out so promising - we got a call at the beginning of January that we had been matched with a birthmom from New York (way, way upstate New York) and we were so excited.  The baby girl was due in March and we had only a little time to get prepared for her.  My friends Laura and Rhonda threw me the nicest baby shower and so many people showed up and showered us not only with gifts, but love as well.  It was amazing.

March came along and it was time for Tony and I to make our big trip to Plattsburgh, NY and you couldn't even begin to imagine all the stuff we took with us.  I think we each had two bags, a pack and play, a stroller base, a car seat, a backpack and my purse.  We probably had more, but that is all I can remember.  Luckily we were flying Southwest Airlines so most of that flew free...or else we may have had to mortgage the house to get all that to New York.

We arrived a few days before the scheduled birth of Kinley so we could meet the birthmom.  Tony and I went to dinner with her and her sister and were there for almost 3 hours and then we received the nicest email from her afterwards about how she was so happy she picked us to be the parents of her baby girl.  Tony and I went to see a few movies before Kinley's birth and when we left the theater on Sunday night it was snowing.  We went to bed pretty early and when we woke up (EARLY!) there was 2 feet of snow on the ground.

The snow caused all kinds of problems - it took us forever to get out of the parking lot at the hotel where we were staying.  Luckily a nice man helped us shovel all the snow from behind our car and we ended up giving him a ride to the hospital as well.  Our birthmom was stuck at her place too and she couldn't get to the hospital because of the snow.  Her sister had been trying to dig her car out for hours (and she ended up having minor frostbite on her finger tips).  Our birthmom eventually had to have an ambulance pick her up and take her to the hospital and Tony and I happened to arrive at the exact same time and accompanied her up the elevator.

A beautiful baby girl was born on Monday, March 7th and we were so excited about her.  A few hours after her birth, the town of Plattsburgh was under a state of emergency and the roads were only going to be open for 30 more minutes.  The hospital gave us a room next to the birthmom and we were going to stay the night there and spend time with that sweet baby girl.

The rest of Monday went great - we had dinner at the hospital with the birth grandmother (I guess that is what I would call the birthmom's mother) and she seemed to be so nice, but looking back on it, there were things she said that should have raised some red flags.  We held sweet Kinley, fed her, burped her, changed her diapers and spent a lot of time with the birthmom's family.

On Tuesday, the state of emergency was lifted and Tony and I left the hospital for a bit to get a shower at our hotel room.  When we returned back to the hospital, again we had a great day feeding, burping and changing little Kinley...but before we left that night, our birthmom had her first breakdown (that we saw).  We left the room while she was crying and when we returned she promised us that we would be going home with her little girl that it was just hard for her.  I came back to the hotel that night and blogged and received so many prayers via voicemails, texts, Facebook messages, etc.  We were so blessed to have so many people care about our situation.

Wednesday started off good, but the birthmom had a few breakdowns throughout the day.  Her mom told me that she was afraid that Kinley would grow up hating her and wouldn't understand why she had done this and had asked me to talk to her about my feelings since I had been adopted at birth.  I sat down with her alone and told her (through tears) that I have never hated my birthmom and that I know she did what was best for me.  It was the ultimate act of love and bravery.  My talk with her seemed to help and as we left to go back to the hotel, she again promised me we would be going home with Kinley, but I had a nervous feeling in my stomach all night.

On Thursday, our birthmom and Kinley were to be released from the hospital so we brought up Kinley's going home outfit, blanket and carseat.  We were so excited to bring her "home" even if home meant a hotel room for the next several days.  Tony and I were sitting in the birthmom's room and she fell asleep. Her mom and her sister started snooping through her phone and noticed she had texted someone the night before that "she wished she would just die in her sleep" and the bottom started to fall out then.  The birthmom's mother started crying and left the room (the text was not only emotional for her, but she was remembering that her daughter had tried to commit suicide at the beginning of her pregnancy).

Our birthmom's mother showed up with the nurse manager and asked us to leave the room.  At that point, my hands were shaking and I knew this was the end.  I turned to Tony and said, "I can't do this again, it is too hard!"  Several minutes later, the nurse manager came to speak to us to tell us that our birthmom had changed her mind and that she was keeping our sweet Kinley.  Her mom was going to help her to raise the baby which is the main reason why our birthmom changed her mind.  This meant we would be going home empty handed.  Tony and I were in tears.  We only had each other - there was no one there with us.  It was heartbreaking and not a day that I would like to repeat.  We sat in a room and cried forever and finally left the hospital.   And, we got back to hotel and I spent the whole day in bed crying and crying and crying.  I had the worst headache!  After awhile, I got on the computer and booked us a return flight home for the next day.

As we were at the airport, an older lady asked about all of our baby gear and I broke down crying again.  That poor lady probably didn't have a clue what she had done.  It was that day while waiting in the airport for our flight that we would go ahead an throw our name in the hat again (even though I had just said I didn't want to do it again).  We emailed the agency and we were activated again which meant potential birthmoms would start reading our profiles again.  When we arrived in Dallas, we were met by Tony's family and mine too.  It was too sweet.  One of my best friends met us for breakfast the next day too.  And, we received so many emails, texts, phone calls and were amazed by all the support we received!

Of course, that is why I would say this year has been the worst of years.

However, Tony and I decided we would get on with our lives and booked a cruise to Alaska for September, but God had other plans!  Remember the decision we had made to put our names and profile back out there - well there was a birthmom that signed up with our agency just days after our heartbreak and she picked us and you all know the ending to this story.  So Tony and I canceled our cruise to Alaska for a trip to Knoxville, TN to see our sweet Harper arrive in the world on June 20, 2011.  What a difference a few month's make!  She has completely turned out worst year to our best.  We are so blessed to have this sweet angel in our lives.  She made us a family!

Harper, we love you!  We are so happy with had great friends and family this year!  We are so thankful we put our trust in God because He obviously knew best!

We anticipate 2012 being an awesome year!  We hope it is for all of you as well.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

6 Months Old! Oh My!

Howdy Y'all!

I can't believe that 6 months (and one day) has flown by so fast!  It feels like just yesterday Little Miss Harper arrived.

This little munchkin had her 6 month appointment today and she is a chunky little monkey.  She weighs 18 lbs, 2.9 oz (88th percentile) and is 26.75 inches long (84th percentile).  The poor little girl had to get 4 shots today and an oral vaccine.  She was not happy about this at all, but only cried for about a minute and then was over it.  What a big girl!

Harper started eating solid food (other than cereal) this month.  So far, we have tried sweet potatoes, green beans and apples.  She loves them all!  She is such a great eater.

She started sitting up without support.  I love that she can now sit in the floor or in her bassinet and just play with her toys.  She loves her little V-tech zoo and LeapPad picnic basket.

We have started sitting up in the shopping basket - and now she loves to go shopping.  She loves to look around at point and things.  In the past, she has cried when we go into stores, but now she just smiles and enjoys it all.  Yay!  I love that!

She has the best time in the bath and has started playing with her rubber ducks.  She tries to pick them all up at one time and she can't figure out why she just can't pull that off.   :)

She visited Santa for the first time and she did great.  We went at a time when there was no one in line so Santa spent about 30 minutes with her.  And, she just sat and looked at him and he showed her pictures of his reindeer.  What a special memory to have...and who knows how next year is going to go.

We are so thankful to have this little peanut in our lives - she brings us so much joy!  We are so ready to celebrate our first Christmas together as a family.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!  :)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh, Sweet Potato!

Howdy Y'all!

Our little gal is now eating vegetables!  And, she LOVED it!

Sunday night, I chopped up a sweet potato and put it into a machine my sister got me for a shower gift.  The machine is called the Baby Brezza and it is really cool!  All I had to do was add the chopped sweet potato and water and it did the rest of the work for me...Steamed and Pureed!  Love this thing.

Anything I have ever seen a baby try something new, I feel like I see the "bitter beer face"because it is something new and foreign to them.  Not soon as I got the first spoonful in her mouth, she was opening her mouth for the next bite.  When she eats, she makes these noises and I picture her saying "Yum,  Yum!" and I think it is the cutest thing ever.

We are doing great with the sweet potatoes and later this week we will test out peas.  Wish us luck!

I have to go whip up some sweet potatoes for tomorrow.  :)


Sunday, December 11, 2011

What is your opinion on the "Cutest"?

Howdy Y'all!

It has been awhile since I have been on here, but we have been so busy!  But, almost all the Christmas shopping is done (yay!) and all of the gifts that have been bought are wrapped (yippee!).  And, I am even trying my hand out tonight making baby food.  I think Harper is going to get her first taste of sweet potatoes...we'll see how that goes.  :)

Our agency is having a contest for the cutest baby - and I am stumped.  I don't know which picture to submit so I need your help.  Please help me decide which is the cutest one...because I like to win these kinds of things even if there really isn't a prize.  :)  I am pretty darn competitive.  Of course, my sister and my husband know about this competitive side of me since they both tell me that I never lose at games.  ha!

And, here we go with the pictures...

#1 - Best Present Ever

#2 - So Innocent

#3 - Sweet Smile

#4 - Yummy Lip!

#5 - Flying

#6 - Pretty Lights

#7 - Frosty the Snowbaby

#8 - Frosty the Snowbaby #2

#9 - Pretty in Pink

So, which are your favorites?  Help me decide...Pretty please with a cherry on top!


Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Months Old

Howdy Y'all!

Harper is 5 months old (+1 day, if you are counting).  It is unbelievable how much she develops on a weekly basis.  I am so excited to see my family this week so they can see how much Harper has developed since last month.  I know I am biased, but I just love that cute face!  How can you resist that smile.

Here is a comparison to her 1 month picture.

So, Harper...what are you up to these days?

You are wearing 6-9 month clothes.

You wear size 2 diapers.

You probably weigh somewhere around 17 or 18 pounds.

You started eating cereal this month and after a rough start, you are a pro!

You love your Baby Einstein Jumper - and you think it is funny when we sing Jump by Kris Kross while you are jumping.

You love to smile when we play Peek-a-Boo or say Uh-Oh Spaghetti-O!

You giggle when mommy pretends to eat your toes or hands.

You copy mommy sometimes and it makes us laugh.

You hate tummy time!!!!  But, I think you look so cute when you are on your belly.

You have been rolling over from your back to your tummy since you were 3 months old, but you refuse to roll from your tummy to your back.

You still love bedtime stories!

Some of your favorite toys are your Musical Caterpillar that has that "crunchy sounding fabric", your musical book and your Soothing Seahorse.

And, last but not least, you got to sit in a pumpkin.  :)  ha!

We are so happy to have you in our lives - and these first 5 months have been a blast.  We can't wait to experience the next 11,345 months with you.  :)


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Precious Things

Howdy Y'all!

My mom didn't save too many things from when I was a baby, but I cherish the things she did keep.  We brought Harper home covered in my baby blanket my MeMaw made me.

Harper has also been able to wear my pink shawl that my MeMaw made me.  Not only is it precious because it was mine and it was made by MeMaw - but, it is also precious because my MeMaw died when I was 4 years old and it is like she is with us.   These things are just so precious!

Now that I have learned how special my things are, I will be sure and save some things for Harper to have when she is grown too.

We had our last home visit today from our agency and of course, it went great.  We love Jazmin and all the support she has given us through our journey of adoption.

After Jazmin left today, we went to the mall to pick up a Christmas present for our niece that lives in Nashville.  While we were there, we went to this cute gift shop that I love called Melody's Choices.  They have the most awesome puppets there - and I decided it would be fun to start buying these one at a time while Harper is growing and by the time she is ready for a puppet show, she will have enough characters for a whole storyline.  She seems to love her first puppet...just look at her face.

Weekends are the best!  And, Harper has been in such a great mood this weekend that it makes me dread Monday even more.  But, off to work I go tomorrow.  Ugh!  We do what we have to do.  :)

One more thing - Harper has pictures scheduled Wednesday afternoon and I am torn on which Christmas outfits to take.  I plan on taking 3, maybe 4 outfits.   We have the following choices (pictured below).  1) Red Corduroy Dress with Harper on the sash - I will put a White Peter Pan collared shirt on underneath it.  2) White smocked top with elf legs and red and white polka pants.  3) Red Corduroy Romper - I will put a white shirt underneath it.  4)  Pink dress with ribbon tree.  5) White with red polka dots smocked pajamas.  6) Green smocked dress with Santa Hats.  7) Reindeer a-line dress to be pair with jeans.  Which ones are your top 3 or 4 choices? 

I am off to enjoy the last few hours of the weekend - they are just too short!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Great Cereal Catastrophe of 2011

Howdy Y'all!

Harper started eating cereal a little over a week ago and we are trying to get the hang of it.  She did really well the first night and then the second night went way downhill.   She wants the instant pleasure of food like her bottle gives her and she doesn't want to take the time to swallow so she can get another bite.

I have developed my method of feeding her cereal - it may be a little unorthodox, but it works for us.  After the first few bites when she gets frustrated, I spoon in some cereal and then immediately but the pacifier in her mouth.  Tony calls it the "stuff and plug" method.  It really seems to be working for us and hopefully we can wean her off the method in a few weeks.

My mother-in-law was here this weekend and wanted to feed Harper her cereal.  She couldn't quite figure out the timing of the method I use so she gave up and gave Harper a bottle instead for a couple of nights in a on Monday night after a couple of days without cereal, we had The Great Cereal Catastrophe of 2011!

Harper was all ready for cereal - and last night we tried Oatmeal for the first time.  Her first few bites started off great like always - she was smiling and she seemed to really be enjoying the oatmeal.  Then, her frustration set in and she started crying.  I looked away for a split second and during her crying, she lifted her arm and then hit her almost full bowl of oatmeal.  This caused the bowl to fly in the air and oatmeal went everywhere!  The floor, the highchair, Harper's face, Harper's clothes, my clothes, etc.

I pulled her out trying to keep the oatmeal contained and tried to lay her somewhere to get her clothes off.  The fit continued because she was hungry and now she had oatmeal all over her.  I got her down to her diaper and cleaned up while Tony cleaned up her highchair and the floor.  While she is screaming in my arms, I fixed her a bowl of oatmeal #2.  I got her strapped into her chair and she would not even calm down to take one bite.  After trying several times, I got frustrated as well.  :)  Eventually, the full bowl ended up in the sink and a bottle was made.  This little girl of mine can be so stubborn at times and she knows how to work the system.

We marched right upstairs, put on her PJs and snuggled while she ate her bottle.  Times were much simpler when she could just lay in my arms and drink her dinner.  :)

Like I said, I was frustrated - not at Harper, but just at her stubbornness.  But, look at this face, she is just too cute and sweet that I will forget all these crazy moments and remember how funny we looked with oatmeal all over us!

Tonight, she ate her whole bowl of cereal!  Yay!  But, of course, I had to use my method.  My question is this - did you ever have these issues when you introduced cereal?  And, what did you do to remedy your issues?

By the way, look how I found Tony and Harper on Sunday after I came downstairs from putting clothes up.  Isn't it the cutest?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Falling Back and Taking Advantage

Howdy Y'all!

Today is the day where we gain an hour from falling back and I took advantage by cleaning out Harper's closet.  It was time to get rid of the summer clothes and everything sized 0-3 months since we haven't worn those in quite some time.  I also took the tags off and washed all her 6-9 and 6-12 month clothes because this little girl is growing up so fast.  I kept seeing advertisements for the Shout Color Catchers so I decided to try them out with all these clothes I washed today.   It worked!  You should check them out too!

Harper's Grandmother came for a visit this weekend - and Harper got soooo spoiled.  She had a PJ day with Grandmother on Friday, Grandmother read bedtime stories to her, she fed her, she held her all day and she took her shopping.  Now, before you say "this child does not need any more clothes" because she still hasn't repeated an outfit yet, let me just say that Grandmother bought her a dressy winter coat and another more casual winter coat as well as some PJs in the next size up.  These are all things that we could use.  I won't mention the two outfits she bought her as well.  :)  Harper had a great time with her Grandmother!

My last blog was about the bumpers on Harper's bed and the trouble they were causing us.  This week we got the Breathable Bumper I ordered from and it has been working out perfectly.  Now I don't fear that she will get her face planted up against it and won't be able to breathe and we don't have to go rescue a leg or arm constantly from getting stuck in the rails.  Yay!  Thanks for all the suggestions.

Hey Nana, if you are reading this, Harper wants to let you know that she loves you too and she wore her Nana's Princess shirt to prove it.  She misses you and wants to hang out with you soon.

And, last but not least, I will leave you with a couple of pictures from Halloween night and my sweet little clown/Rainbow Brite (I called her a clown - others called her Rainbow Brite - and I am fine with both).  We sat outside with Harper and handed out candy.  She loved watching all the trick-or-treaters.  We can't wait until next year when we will actually take her around to go trick-or-treating herself.

I hope everyone took advantage of their extra hour - even if it just meant sleeping in for an hour.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Breathe...

Howdy Y'all!

We moved Harper to her room over a month ago and I would say, for the most part, it has been good for us.  She is sleeping through the night and her room really seems to calm her down.

The monitor we use is called the Angelcare monitor system and I love it.  I love the fact that if it doesn't sense a movement in a 20 second timespan, an alarm goes off.  What I don't love, is actually hearing the alarm go off.  I am so thankful that we have this monitor system and I would recommend it to anyone with a makes you feel so at ease.

When we first moved Harper to her bed, the alarm went off one night.  I walked ran into the room and found her face planted up against the bumper.  I just moved her back to the middle of the bed and went back to sleep.  And, she has been sleeping in her bed for many nights without an issue, but this week it has gone off twice.

This is the way I found her one morning (the alarm didn't sound because her face was not buried) - but she is quite the mover in the bed.  So, tonight I decided to remove the bumpers so her face wouldn't get planted in the bumper.  I thought this would fix our problem...and it has fixed this problem, but has created another issue.

While I am typing this, I have already had to go upstairs twice and rescue a crying baby.  Both times she has rolled herself over and her legs were stuck in the rails of her bed.  My question for you is this...

Do I put the bumpers back up and trust my monitor will work or do something different so her legs won't go through the rails?  What are your suggestions?  I am looking for any advice here.  :)

I don't ever want anything to happen to this sweet, giggling girl.  I love this face!  She is 18 weeks old today.

And, I still want to continue putting bloomers on her cute little tush.  ha!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oh My, Look Who's 4 Months Old!

Howdy Y'all!

My little pumpkin is 4 months old and I can't believe it!  It really feels like we have had her for longer, but then again, I can't believe it has been 4 months.  We just love her to pieces and can't imagine life without her!
4 Months Old

3 Months Old

2 Months Old

One Month Old

Man, she's grown!  I am so curious to get her stats at her 4 month appointment next week.  At her 2 month appointment, she was in the 98th percentile on weight and 97th percentile on height...and I am thinking we are probably still on that same track.

So, if you are wondering, here are the other stats and facts about my beautiful little girl:
  • We just switched to number 2 diapers...we used up all the size 1 we had in the house and made the switch about a week ago.
  • She is wearing 3-6 month clothes and 6 month clothes.
  • She eats 6 oz at a time (and sometimes 8 oz at school) - and she drinks that stuff fast!
  • She is mostly sleeping through the night - there are nights were she wakes up in the middle of the night needing to be changed or fed, but most days she wakes up around 6:30 am.
  • She loves to smile at her mommy and daddy when we pick her up from school and I just love that.
  • She has really started laughing lately and I love that too.  She loves peek-a-boo.
  • She loves to be read to - we used to read one book each night and she would listen so attentively, but lately, she has been so tired that the bedtime story time has gone away for a bit.
  • She is a rolling machine.  She rolled over the for the first time on her 3 month birthday, but now she does it all the time...over and over and over and over again.
  • Harper still hasn't worn the same outfit twice - this one is kind of embarrassing.  :)
  • She just started using her Jumper this week and she loves the music and lights.
  • She is still a drool monkey!
  • She has made my life complete!
I will leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from Harper's month.