Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'll Never Do That...Until I Do

In all the years leading up to our little blessing of Nate, I dreamed of what being a mom would be. I had this vision of being the absolute best version of what I envisioned a mom to be. I'd do all those cute pinteresty things, I'd turn into a morning person, and I'd never ever do a whole slew of things. Well, now that I am actually living out my dream, I realized that I should never say never. While being a mom is one of the most rewarding and exciting times in my life, it's tough. I am finding myself doing many things I swore I'd never do, and at first I would get upset with myself over it. Now, I'm realizing we need to do what works for our families, what gets us through a rough day, and not judge anyone for their own parenting styles. So here's my list of things I said I'd never do, until I did:

1. Put my child in front of the TV... and more than once in a day! This one is number one on the list because it's probably the one I beat myself up about the most. You are always hearing people talk about keeping little ones away from that screen time. For us, it started out small, a little video here and there to get through a difficult moment or two. While it varies from day to day, Nate definitely watches more TV than I ever anticipated. He loves Elmo and alphabet shows, and you know what- I don't care. He has actually learned new words and ideas from these shows, knows his ABCs and can count to 11 (I'm sure some of these shows had something to do with it), and quite honestly I wouldn't have a single moment to myself or get a thing done around the house if it weren't for these calm, quiet moments.

Brother Francis is one of our favorite DVD series! We have been watching
a lot more Sesame Street, Caillou, and Super Why lately. I think it's time
to get back to some good ol' Brother Francis
2. On that same note... willingly putting Caillou on my TV. That show is just known to be loathed by almost every parent I know, but Nate LOVES it, and it buys me just enough time to get dinner on the table. So... done deal. I'm really feeling like mom of the year right about now...

3. Empty threats- Ha! I dare you to never give an empty threat. I try my best not to do this, but honestly sometimes they just come out and I realize I can't follow through. Sometimes it's even something I CAN follow through on, but it's going to be a bigger pain in the booty than what he is doing.

4. Spoil my child- Wait for years to have a child, and try NOT to buy him the overpriced Sea World picture frame and picture of him with his favorite celebrities, Elmo and Cookie Monster. I dare you ;) Did I mention, he asks to take the picture down from his dresser so he can point out all the characters on the frame and himself in the picture?
Seriously, that's a framer!
5. Give in just because of a tantrum: Now I try my best not to give into a tantrum. I'll usually bring him somewhere safe and place him on the floor to ride it out. But there are times when we are out and it's just not going to happen. I just can't stop and ride it out while I'm trying to buckle him into the carseat and there's a car with their blinker on waiting for my spot (even though there is a spot just a few feet further... seriously people!). Who am I kidding? There are times when I just give in, cause guess what, it's easier. He's quiet, and I can finish what I'm doing peacefully. 

6. Buy unnecessary baby items: I still remember when video monitors first came out. I thought it was ridiculous that people were buying these things. I tell you what, I can't imagine living without one now! And I'm sure I have at least 10 other unnecessary items that I have turned into a necessity.

7. Leave the house with my child looking like a mess. This one I am soooo guilty of lately. I feel like I am constantly finding oatmeal from that morning's breakfast on Nate's cheeks, around his mouth, and even on the back of his neck. The other day I was at the store with him, and as I'm checking out I realize how messy the poor child was... dried lunch smeared on his shirt and fresh goldfish spit dripping down his face. He was lookin' good!

At least we don't leave the house like this...
I'm sure there are many more things that I do on a daily basis that pre-momma me would cringe at, but that's all I've got for now. I leave you with some serious cuteness :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Playing Catch-Up

Wow, it has been far too long. I don't even really know where to begin, since so much is changing in our lives right now. First of all...

This guy!!! Seriously, dude, stop growing up! I can't believe how much Nate has changed over the past few months, and honestly from day to day. He is constantly doing new things, learning new things, and expanding his vocabulary (proud speechie mama!). I feel like I could write a book about him, but I will show some self control here and just give a few highlights on my little man. First of all, he is obsessed with balls- basketballs in particular, but the boy does not turn a ball away. I can't even begin to tell you how many balls we have around our house right now. When he wakes up in the morning, one of the first words we hear from his room is "ball", he sleeps with a ball in his crib, has eaten lunch holding a ball, and I just heard him over the baby monitor sleeptalking about balls- no joke. 

 "Don't worry guys, I've got this!"

He also loves Elmo, ABCs, dancing, taking baths and splashing around like crazy, playing outside, going on walks in the stroller, being chased by Dada, and reading his favorite books over and over again. He LOVES fruit, gurgers (hamburgers), mac & cheese, and crackers. He is constantly on the move and keeps us on our toes, and boy does he keep us laughing every single day! 

Like I said, I could write a book, but I will spare you for now. To sum things up, though, Nate's pretty awesome! And we just said goodbye to bottles for good, so bye bye baby :(  Hello, big boy! 

Now for my BIG news... I have two weeks left at my current job, and then I will be immediately starting up my latest position... Stay at home mom! I'm so excited, and I can't wait for this new journey to begin. This is what I have always wanted, so I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be home with him. I have had a pretty wild ride at work this year, filled with a million frustrations, BUT in the past few months some changes were made and things settled down a bit. When I attended our high school and transition students' prom a couple weeks ago and then sat through our 8th graders' graduation ceremony today, I realized how much I'm going to miss my job. I absolutely LOVE my students. I have some of the most challenging yet amazing students! They make me smile and laugh every day, and I know they have all changed me for the better. The staff I work with is phenomenal. Some of us have worked with one another since I started 6 years ago, and it is going to be pretty hard not seeing them every day, BUT I get to see Nate's sweet face every day and boy does that make up for it! I just never really thought about how much my job has defined me in many ways over these past 6 years. I'm proud of what I have accomplished with my students, grateful for the friendships I have made, and have been touched deeply by the experiences I have had with my students.

So with this big change, I decided that I still wanted something that was my own and that I could use to help contribute financially to our family, even if it's just a little bit here and there. So kind of on a whim, I became a Jamberry consultant. If you've never heard of Jamberry, the short version is that it's a direct sales company that sells nail wraps. Just reading that sentence... none of it sounds like me, which makes this leap of faith sound a bit crazy. BUT I am so glad I took that chance. Through this company, I am finding time to pamper myself a bit, having a lot of fun connecting with some amazing women, and making some extra cash for our family. I have found myself getting out of my comfort zone, and it has really paid off! I am finding myself feeling more confident and experiencing some pretty great success with my business so far. I don't want to turn this blog into a sales pitch, so don't worry. It's just another aspect of my adventure I want to share with you. 

Good thing I have a solid business manager

So I think I better stop before I completely bore you. If you have gotten this far, I applaud you. I am hoping to take some time to blog a little more frequently. No promises, but I really want to try. Next weekend, Dan and I and Nate's birth mom are speaking to potential adoptive parents at the Cradle for one of their classes. I'm pretty excited to share our story! As I have shared before, we have a wonderful relationship with his birthmom, so I am excited to share that with other families. I know how scary it can be walking into the unknowns of adoption, especially with regards to openness. Please send up a prayer or two that things go smoothly! Maybe just maybe I'll have a post about it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's been a while...

I can't believe it's been over two months since my last post! We've had so much going on between Nathan's first birthday, Christmas, and just everyday life around here. First of all, ah! My baby is 1! Where has the time gone???? He seriously isn't a baby anymore. He's a little boy full of energy, a sense of humor, and a smile that will melt your heart. Since I feel like there's a million things to talk about on here, I'm just going to do a quick run down and then come back to post more about the big things, like Nate's monster party (which was a blast!) and the obligatory mommy post describing my little boy at age 1 and all that jazz. So here's a snapshot of what's been going on these days.

We celebrated Nate's first Thanksgiving at my parents' house. 

We had a monster bash for Nate's birthday at the beginning of December.

Followed by a little celebration with my immediate family on his birthday.

And a cowboy party with Dan's family a couple days after Christmas.

What can I say? We like to party!

Not to mention our 5 Christmases!

No wonder I've been gone so long.

Not to mention heading back to work after break, wah wah wah...

And deciding on some changes starting this hem...saying see ya later to my current job! 

So I guess I just popped in today to say hi, if anyone's still here! And to set myself up to perhaps try and get in some of these posts soon. So I will hopefully be back soon. 

Stay classy, my friends.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vote for us!

So we decided to enter Nathan into the Gerber baby photo contest for fun! If you'd like, please help us out and vote for him! Head on over to this link and click Vote. You can search for him by typing in Nathan and Illinois in the boxes. There are several Nathans in Illinois, so just look for this picture :) Or you can just use his entry id # (probably easier) His entry id# is 210438  

Thanks a bunch! Feel free to share with whoever you would like :)

You can vote once daily until December 14.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little Happies: Birthdays, pumpkin patches, and my little man

It has been a particularly frustrating and nutty day today, entirely due to work. Blah! So I figured I'd take some time to focus on all the little (and big!) blessings in my life these days. Enter, Little Happies! It's been too long. So here goes!

1. We celebrated our God daughter's first birthday a couple weeks ago. Seriously, where does the time go? She is such a beautiful blessing in our lives, and I feel so honored to be her Godmother. She's going to make a really nice wife for Nate someday too ;)  Ask her if they're going to get married, and I bet she'll say "yeah". Never mind the fact that that is her first and only word right now :)

2. This past weekend we visited our friends in St. Louis for their daughter's 3rd birthday. These kids seriously need to stop growing up! We stayed with them for the weekend, which is always such a nice getaway. I find myself able to let go of lots of anxiety when I'm away from home. I love love love getting away from the craziness that life feels like lately.

So we celebrated Wizard of Oz style, which was super cute. And somehow we ended up bringing home two new (to us) toys. Our friends generously offered two of their kids' toddler toys. Nate loves them! Our living room is filled with toys, but I can't turn away cute stuff!

3.  We are planning Nate's first birthday party! Ah! Is he seriously almost one? It's crazy how just one year ago we were waiting to hear whether his birthmom chose us or not. And yet it feels like he has been with us forever. I am having a great time planning his party. I'll be sure to post more when the time comes, but right now the planning itself is such a little happy for me. It's something I've longed to do for years. I feel so blessed to have a party to plan and a little life to celebrate!

4.  A couple weekends ago we took Nathan to the pumpkin patch for the first time. It was a simple children's farm, which was just our speed. It is so exciting to start celebrating holidays with him and making our own family traditions. It's these moments that I dreamed of and longed for for years. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with these beautiful moments!

5. Lots of little moments with my little guy that never fail to make me smile :)
Nathan's first Catholic board books came in the mail last week. He loves them!

I look away for a second and suddenly there's a puff in his eye. Silly boy!

For more Little Happies, head on over to Stephanie's blog at Blessed to Be.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Miraculously My Own

We received this as a gift from my aunt when Nathan was born. If you type
in adoption quotes online I feel like this one always pops up. Here's why :)
I have occasionally heard people referring to the possibility of us having kids "of our own" or talking about Nathan as "fitting in like he were ours". I admit the same thing about him looking like us, but there's something about these phrases that make me a little worried. I don't want my son to EVER hear someone say these things because here is the 100% honest truth. He IS our own. And he does fit in because he is ours. I don't want him to ever think otherwise. He could have had purple skin and blue hair, and he would still fit in. Because the thing is, being a part of a family you never have to fit in. You are loved and a part of the family because you are you. And guess what! Adoption doesn't change that in the least.

This child is the one I have dreamed of my entire life. I don't love him any differently than if he had grown within me. My heart bursts when he excitedly smiles at me when I walk in the door, when he babbles "mama" and "dada", and when he bounces in his crib each morning when we walk in the room. I know everything there is to know about him- the one stray hair that stands up straight on his head, the way he excitedly grips my hands and runs to the bathtub at bath time each night, the silly faces that make him giggle, and the evolving set of  tricks to get him to sit in his high chair. I love the way he climbs me like a little monkey and eventually nuzzles in to fall asleep as I rock him to sleep at night. I love that I can rely on him for at least a dozen laughs each day and plenty more smiles. Most of all, I love that I am his "mama" and he is my sweet, silly and energetic son. He is my own, always has been and always will be. As parents, no matter how they come to us, God has blessed us with our children in this lifetime and entrusts us with the incredible job of raising and guiding them to grow closer to Him, our Father. So no, my son did not grow within my tummy, but he grew in my heart for years. He was prayed for and loved beyond words long before he entered this world. He is 100% my own. My wish for him is that he will always know this and never feel otherwise. I love you, sweet Nathan!