Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hair Club for Babies

A mother’s confession…

“I was embarrassed by my son’s baldness. I used to work for hours arranging the few long pieces of hair he had so it would cover the rest of his head.”

Does this sound familiar? It was the story with me for several months. I have to admit that I am guilty. Yes, my own baby, Mr. H, has been the victim of the baby comb-over.

It was getting to the point where it was obvious. I could see it in the faces of other mothers. I wasn’t fooling anyone. My baby was bald…and something had to be done about it.

I made an appointment at the Hair Club for Babies. They were so sweet and understanding there. They helped us choose the right solution for our son’s embarrassing baldness issue. It was quick and relatively painless. And, thankfully, his hair plugs seem to be coming along quite nicely.

Hope you are having a good hair day!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Halloween Recap

As a mother I feel obligated to post pictures of my kids in their Halloween costumes. So here goes…

There was the Incredible Hulk,

Black Spiderman,

A beautiful butterfly,

My adorable little pumpkin,

And Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile

It was a spooktacular night!!

Election Day 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Birthday for Big D

Every year on our middle kids' birthdays, we write letters to their birthmothers highlighting that child's activities and development. We also include a dozen or so pictures of the child for her to see. The adoption agency keeps these letters in a file and passes them along if the birthmother asks about them. We have letters for all three kids from each year of their lives saved for them to read someday. They are also fun for keeping family and friends up to date about how much each child has grown and what they are doing.

Today is Big D’s birthday, and here is this year’s letter…

Dear Birthmother,

We can hardly believe another year has passed so quickly. Big D is seven years old already and is a big first grader. He reads very well and is learning basic math skills easily. He takes weekly spelling tests and usually gets them all right PLUS the bonus word. He does very careful work and his handwriting is excellent. He works very hard in school and we are very proud of him.

Big D has grown quite a bit since we last wrote. He now weighs 50 pounds and is over 4 feet tall. He went to Six Flags over the summer and was tall enough for almost every ride there. He is a good athlete, playing baseball, soccer and basketball. He also loves to run and to swim. It is fun to watch how enthusiastic he is about whatever sport or game he is playing.

Big D is a natural leader. Not only have his teachers told us that, but we have seen the way he interacts with other kids. He can get a rowdy group of boys to play an organized game of freeze tag in no time at all. We have also called him “the enforcer” on occasion. He is very good at reminding others about the rules.

Our family has grown since our last letter. Big D has a 6-month-old baby brother named Mr. H. By now Big D is a pro at being a big brother, but he’s even older and stronger this time around. He loves to pick up the baby, feed him his baby food, and he’s even changed a diaper or two. Big D also has even more cousins this year. He currently has 16 cousins, and the number won’t stop there. We sure love that our kids have their cousins to grow up with.

Big D is still a picky eater, but he is eating more and more all the time. When it comes to pizza, he can eat just about as much as we can! He asked to eat out at Applebee’s for his birthday dinner this year. He’s still interested in all the superheroes, too. He got an Incredible Hulk costume and giant foam Hulk fists for his birthday. I’m pretty sure that both Big D and C.B. still think there are real superheroes out there somewhere…and that their uncle is probably one of them.

As we have mentioned, adoption is a pretty common subject in our household. Big D is aware that he was adopted into our family and we talk about it with him continually. We want him to know as much about his birth family as possible and about the process of his adoption. Any information you could share with us would only help him understand more about you and your selfless act of love. We invite you to write us a letter back, or to write something to Big D for him to read when he is old enough.

We hope that all is well with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers in thanksgiving for your generous gift to us. We can’t thank you enough for filling our lives and our hearts with a little boy to love. May God bless you.

Big D’s Mom and Dad

Monday, October 20, 2008

Early Trick-or-Treating

I took a couple of not-so-scary little monsters to a Halloween party today. Banana's preschool class celebrated a little early because they don't have school next week. I can't get over the amount of candy that came home with us, especially since the class only has eleven kids in it. Banana went as a beautiful butterfly.

And Mr. H was a perfect little pumpkin.

The rest of the kids are still making up their minds about costumes. Of course you can expect more pictures when the final decisions have been made.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A 3-year-old Banana

Every year on our middle kids' birthdays, we write letters to their birthmothers highlighting that child's activities and development. We also include a dozen or so pictures of the child for her to see. The adoption agency keeps these letters in a file and passes them along if the birthmother asks about them. We have letters for all three kids from each year of their lives saved for them to read someday. They are also fun for keeping family and friends up to date about how much each child has grown and what they are doing. Since today is Banana's third birthday, I decided to post her letter here, along with some of our favorite pictures.

Dear Birthmother,

We hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits. It’s hard to believe another year has passed, and that Banana is already three years old. The “diva” of the family has been growing up fast, both physically and mentally. She is very tall for her age – about 3 feet and 3 inches – and she weighs 32 pounds. She has a head full of dark curly hair, which she can't stand having combed. It is darling when she lets us take our time with it. She already has strong opinions about her shoes and clothing, and she can get dressed almost all by herself too.

Banana started going to preschool this fall. She is enjoying the days she is at school and asks about going even on the days she isn’t scheduled to go. She already knows a lot of her letters and some numbers too. She loves the singing and dancing they do at school and always brings home at least three art projects that she has made for us.

We would no longer describe Banana as a good eater. While she eats a huge breakfast and has healthy snacks and lunches, she rarely eats dinner with the rest of us. She will sit and say the dinner prayer with us, but she will be “all done” before much of anything is actually missing from her plate. This might explain why she has such big breakfasts!

Banana recently moved into a “big bed”. She still takes a nap most every afternoon and she sleeps very well at night. She is always up early enough to see the three older kids off to school. She loves waving to them from the front door as they drive off with Dad. She always says, “They’re funny!” as they wave to her from the car.

We mentioned in our last letter that Banana would be a big sister. Well, her little brother Mr. H arrived in April and things haven‘t been the same since. We were wondering if there would be any jealousy issues. Fortunately, since the new baby turned out to be a boy, Banana maintained her “diva” status in the family. She is a good big sister. She holds him, gives him his favorite toys, and makes him laugh all the time. Then she tells him, “You’re funny, Mr. H!” She thinks everyone is funny.
Since three of our five children joined the family through adoption, it is something we talk about a lot in our house. We want Banana to know about her adoption as well as her birth family. Any information you could give us about yourself or your family would help us to share more of the “Story of Banana” with her.

We hope that you recognize what a special gift Banana is to us. Because you have touched our hearts with your gift, you are continually in our thoughts and prayers. We hope that you are both happy and healthy. We will be keeping in touch as our little diva continues to grow.

Banana’s Mom and Dad

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Post has been Brought to you by the Letter H

The H in Mr. H is for…





Having Fun




Having a nap

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Day at the Ballpark

We took Big D and Miss M to Busch Stadium on Sunday for the Founders Day activities. (Of course, Mr. H tagged along.) The tickets were given to my husband at work. Admission included free concession items, clubhouse and dugout tours, discounted retail items, and fun for the kids at the Family Pavilion. The team was playing in Chicago that day, but we got to watch the game on the JumboTron.

We took a walk on the warning track around the whole field. The kids took turns slamming themselves into the outfield wall to see what it really feels like to steal a home run from the opposing team.

They also got to sit in the Cardinals dugout. It was so exciting to sit in the same place the team sits when we see them on TV!

We ate our (free) hot dogs and nachos in the front sections of the stadium, where the seats are nice and padded. We told the kids not to get used to that.

They had an area with an inflatable slide, a bouncer and an obstacle course. They also had batting cages and a place to throw a ball to see how fast you can pitch. Hubby didn’t do too badly – 65 mph.

It was a gorgeous day to spend at the ballpark.

And, as you can tell by the smiles, we had a great time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A New Smile

I'm short on time today, but I wanted to post this shot of Mr. H.

His two bottom teeth came in a few weeks ago, and now he has a brand new smile!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hearts at Home

Last week I made hotel reservations for a single night’s stay in Bloomington, Illinois in March. Why did I make reservations to stay in a small town for one night more than six months in advance? Because I will be attending the annual Hearts at Home National Conference again, and hotels in the area fill up early. In fact, I had very few choices when making reservations this year. However, it was better than last year when I waited until January to look into hotel rooms. I suppose I should make reservations for 2010 when we check out in March.

This will be my sixth year attending the Mom’s Conference, as I usually refer to it. It is such a wonderful experience that I recommend it to every mom who will listen. Not only are the workshops inspiring and informative, but I also enjoy the car rides with my sister-in-laws and girlfriends. Not to mention the lovely dinner out we routinely treat ourselves to. I look forward to this trip all year long.

Every mom I know who has been to the conference feels the same way I do upon returning. Being in the same room with thousands of other moms makes us feel more than validated in our positions as mothers. The workshops provide us with a renewed sense of purpose and energy in our jobs. I always find that I come home with a little more patience and at least a few practical parenting ideas. And it’s nice to have a break from my everyday routine once in a while, too.

If you are a mom, I highly suggest looking into any of the upcoming Hearts at Home conferences.

October 3-4, 2008 Grand Rapids, Michigan
November 7-8, 2008 Rochester, Minnesota
March 13-14, 2009 Bloomington, Illinois

If you don’t live close enough to drive to a conference, and hopping on a plane isn’t an option, you can also order a Home Conference Packet which gives you the conference via CD. Check out the Hearts at Home website for more information!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Banana’s Big Boo-Boo

I spent a couple of hours in the Emergency Room yesterday. My little Banana had to get her head stitched up. She ran smack into the edge of the deck around my sister-in-law’s pool. It just happened to be forehead height, and she hit it hard. I didn’t know that foreheads could bleed so much!

It was a pretty deep cut, but I’m not sure I would have been so quick to go to the hospital if we hadn’t been at my sister-in-law’s. Being a nurse she could tell right away that it was going to need some stitches. It was sure nice of my daughter to split her head open at a nurse’s house. Check out her version of a Banana split. (Get it? The Banana split her head open? Ha!)

After the initial crying, Banana was just as pleasant as can be. You would never know that she had such a bad boo-boo if there hadn’t been a giant bandage on her head.

She answered all the questions she was asked at the Emergency Room and used her very best manners. She charmed her way into the hearts of the entire E.R. staff, even saying “Thank you, Doctor” when her head was successfully stitched.

Banana really seemed to enjoy her stay there, just happy to be getting all that attention. Not to mention the treats! My sister-in-law gave her a bag of cookies for the ride to the hospital, and the E.R. nurse gave her a popsicle to suck on while the anesthesia soaked into her boo-boo. Later that day she got a new toy from one grandma and an ice cream treat from the other. Her glowing account of the whole E.R. experience makes me wonder if the other kids might start getting hurt on purpose!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

“We Will Never Forget”

Looking back, I feel very self-centered about the events of our day seven years ago. We were in the process of looking for a bigger house. We had applied for and been approved for the adoption of our second child and decided we’d like to spread out. On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 we had an early appointment at a real estate office to put a contract on a house we had fallen in love with the night before. My husband, my four-year-old daughter and I were in the car. My daughter was clutching the Blue’s Clues videotape she planned to watch in the TV/VCR combo they kept at the real estate office while Mom and Dad signed their lives away.

We switched on the radio and we heard the DJ's saying that the president had been moved to an undisclosed location, but we had just missed the disclosure of the circumstances. We listened closely to try to get more information, but we still had no clue what was going on by the time we arrived at the office. When we walked in, every person in that office was gathered around that tiny TV/VCR combo. We knew that Blue’s Clues was out of the question. That was a given for my husband and me, but it was a tough lesson for a four-year-old little girl.

Our agent helped us through the paperwork, but we were in a daze, and feeling like the new house we so desired was no longer important. Considering what was happening in the world, I can only describe our real estate proceedings that morning as petty. I don’t know why we didn’t just give it up and go home, but we continued despite our reservations. We left and went immediately to my husband’s parent’s house, knowing we needed to be with family.

My husband decided that he would not be going in to work that day. My daughter was supposed to go to pre-school, and I didn’t want her to go either. I didn’t want her to be out of my arms, much less out of my sight. We spent the whole day with my in-laws glued to their television set, still in the daze that had begun early that morning. We stayed until well after dinner, just wanting to be with loved ones all day long.

Despite the daze, I remember some things. I remember calling my mom at work and hearing the anxiety in her voice as she talked about trying to get through to my grandma and other relatives out of state. I remember bawling while watching the members of Congress singing "God Bless America" on the steps of the Capitol building. I remember an overwhelming mix of emotions – confusion, fear, anger, sadness – and the realization that we have so little control over our lives. But I also remember hope for the future. I remember the beginning of a new and determined patriotism; one that I still see today, but that lacks the vigor it had seven years ago. Our memory of that day will keep our patriotism strong. As a country, we really must never forget.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mr. H's First Real Food

If you call extra runny rice cereal real food. He took to the spoon really well.

But he's not so sure about the gushy stuff that was on it.

Still thinking.....

It must be pretty good.
But I think he likes his foot better!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pretty as a Picture

I'm posting this picture today because I can hardly believe it myself. It’s hard to believe that I did this to Banana’s hair this morning and there wasn’t a single tear. She usually makes quite a fuss about having her hair combed because it hurts. But today we weren’t in any kind of a hurry (yet) and I was able to take it nice and slow. Afterwards I made a big deal about how cute it looked, and an especially big deal that it didn’t hurt and she didn’t cry. We high-fived each other and decided we needed to take a picture. Hopefully she will remember all of that the next time we need to comb her hair.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Catching Up

It's taken me longer than I thought to get a handle on things, but I think I'm close. The kids and I spent five days at the country house. We spent lots of time swimming in the lake and playing on the beach. Dad came out to be with us for a few days as well. He took the kids fishing, and they caught a few big ones.

We also played games, went for rides on the rope swing, and did some reading. Miss M and I both finished our books in the first two days. We got a surprise visit from a katydid who joined the kids for breakfast one morning. He just crawled up onto the table and started drinking some milk that dripped off of C.B.’s spoon. He stayed there drinking for about 30 minutes. Did you know that katydid’s drank milk?

Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents joined us over the weekend to celebrate four family birthdays. The kids were so happy to have someone other than me to play with.

Banana enjoys a birthday cupcake.

Mr. H and his baby cousin show off their big, round bellies.

The day after we came home from our country retreat was Sneak-A-Peek Sunday at the kids’ school. We were able to drop off supplies and meet teachers. Miss M’s classroom was packed with desks. This will be the first year that there won’t be 2 sessions of her grade level. Her teacher told me this is the biggest class he’s ever had. I wished her the best of luck. Big D’s class is a more reasonable size. His teacher is young and energetic, and I’m sure he will have a great year in First Grade. I was slightly worried about C.B. and his attitude toward starting full-day Kindergarten. Last year when we went to visit his preschool classroom he wouldn’t even go in the door, much less make eye contact with his teacher. Thankfully he was much more accepting about the starting of school than he was last year at this time. It helped that his Kindergarten teacher gave him a treat bag with a rubber bug and some candy inside.

That same afternoon we attended a picnic with the G.I.F.T. group. G.I.F.T. (Getting Interracial Families Together) is a social group for families of mixed race, whether by marriage, birth or adoption. The kids enjoyed meeting new friends and playing a lot of fun outdoor games.

The next day, Monday, was the first day of school. It wasn’t as hectic as I thought it would be, and everyone seemed excited about the big day. I wish I could say that every day goes that smoothly, but it was certainly a nice start to the school year.

School is going well so far, but I’m thinking the kids are going to be happy to enjoy a school-free weekend. Not that we’ll be lazy, though. Miss M is going to Girl Scout Camp this weekend, Big D has a soccer game, we have a church picnic Saturday evening and 2 birthday parties on Sunday. They might be ready to go back to school to get a break on Monday!