Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Child development is amazing

Some things about child development just amaze me. When Olivia was a newborn, every waking moment was about experiencing something brand new. And it was all so overwhelming to her. I can understand why infants get overstimulated so easily. Imagine knowing nothing but dark, warm wetness for your entire existence and then suddenly being thrust into a world full of bright lights and strange noises and big shapes. Babies quickly begin to recognize those two people who are always hanging around (a.k.a. Mommy and Daddy) as the providers of all their survival and comfort needs, and they start to trust them. But for the most part, they really aren't very social. They just sort of exist and get their needs met.

Gradually, they begin to interact on a more social level. And before you know it, you have an intelligent little 8-month old who mimics words that you say (or at least your inflection), understands meals and naptime, claps when she's excited and follows Mommy around when she's doing household chores (because, you know the laundry is so much more interesting than any of her musical, talking or moving toys).

She's developing her own wake-up style and her personal preferences for naps and play and eating. She teaches us how to be parents as we grow together. And every day, there are moments when she just amazes me. When I go in to get her out of her crib after a nap, and she's sitting in the corner playing with her doll, and she flashes me that famous smile the moment she sees me...pure joy. I'll never fully understand how we got so lucky as to be blessed with this amazing child.

I think we are slightly spoiled. Although Olivia has her bad moments, the amazing moments completely outweigh them. I'm not sure how a second baby is going to stack up...although something tells me that whenever and however he or she appears on the scene, it will be different, but just as amazing and miraculous as Olivia has been for us.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Here and there

My mind is bouncing around today.

Olivia is growing at an alarming rate. Well, not alarming, really, except for the fact that she is too tall for her tops and too skinny for the matching shorts. Where are the tall boutiques for babies? I mean, for adults you have Big & Tall, Petite, and Plus Size stores. Then, for the ultra skinny, the Juniors department. (Seriously, when did teens evolve into beanpoles with attitudes?) There are all kinds of stores that cater to the size-specific needs of a vast array of adults, but apparently babies are all supposed to be proportioned exactly the same as every other baby within their 3-month age range of clothing options.

Whenever I'm really tired, I tend to dream about trying to calm Olivia down so we can rest (because she is apparently the main reason for my exhaustion). It doesn't happen often. We are actually pretty well-rested in this house. Olivia sleeps ten hours at night, unless we put her to bed late. Then she insists on waking up early. I don't see the logic in this, but it is what she does.

When Olivia was teeny, my dreams revolved around actually putting her to sleep. This was back when she required rocking, patting and soothing to fall asleep. So, in my dream I would imagine that I have her lying on my chest and I'm patting her back to help her fall asleep. I would usually wake up and realize that I'd been patting my own chest or belly in the midst of this dream.

A few nights ago, I had the dream again, only this time I dreamed that Olivia was crawling all over our bed. I leaned over to grab her, stroked her back and patted her (in my dream). Turns out, I was patting my husband's shoulder. He woke up and said "What?". Which confused the heck out of me, and it took me a few seconds to realize that Olivia wasn't crawling in our bed...she was in her own bed, asleep.

Speaking of beds (random transition), Olivia fell off of ours this morning. She was playing and I was watching her climb on pillows. I turned around for ONE SECOND to get the laundry basket off of the floor, and when I looked back at the bed, she was tumbling to the floor. It was AWFUL. She screamed for five solid minutes, flailing around, alternating between crying into my shoulder and leaning back to look at me and "explain" what happened through her sobs. A half-hour later, she was playing and babbling happily again, but I think we will not be climbing on beds anymore.

We were at a family reunion yesterday, and Olivia played in little kiddie pool with about eight other little girls (second cousins to Olivia), all age 4 and under. They kept jumping in and out, and mommies everywhere were saying "watch out for the baby", but Olivia was loving it...crawling here and there, watching the other kids. It didn't bother her at all that they were a little, um, crazy. I think she enjoyed herself immensely.

See my teeth?

She's a very social baby. Just like her Grandpa, she has never met a stranger.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I'm babysitting my nephew, Trey, today. Olivia and Trey are seven months apart, but they are very close in size and love to play together. So I was really looking forward to this.

We successfully made it through the morning. Olivia usually takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap, but she refused to sleep when Trey arrived. We got through lunch and then I put each of them down to nap. After some fussing, they fell asleep. And I was thinking I was doing pretty well with my management of two little ones.

However, Olivia has been waking every ten minutes or so and screaming since she fell asleep. I'm afraid she got overtired and now she's having a hard time settling down. This should make for a very interesting afternoon.


I shouldn't really complain. Trey's just about the easiest kid in the world to watch. He's very easygoing and tolerates Olivia's tackle moves.

Seriously, though, they do play well together. I caught them hugging or kissing each other several times this morning (although I could never reach my camera in time to catch it). They are both very sweet kids.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just a picture today

I've got a couple of post ideas brewing, but no time today. In the meantime, there's this:

Yesterday was a very nice day...a wonderful change from the nasty hot, humid weather we've been having. So we played in the backyard while Daddy grilled some burgers for dinner. Olivia kept crawling off the blanket (thus the pants) and trying to eat twigs and leaves, so I did my very best to keep her interested in her toys. I wouldn't mind her crawling in the grass if she didn't try to eat everything she could grab.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A discussion between two mothers

This past weekend, I talked to Olivia's birthmom on the phone. We had recently sent her photos, and we usually chat after she receives the photos so she can catch up on Olivia's recent accomplishments (so accomplished is my baby, you know). She has three other daughters whom she is parenting, so she knows about milestones and activity at various ages.

We had a really great conversation. She asked about what Olivia is doing now...crawling, standing, etc. I told her about how mobile she is and about our earlier scares about climbing and thinking she might try to climb out of her crib.

And she told me that all three of her daughters were climbing out of their cribs around this age and crawling down the hall.

Hmmm... after more discussion, it became apparent that Olivia's active nature is pretty similar to her biological half-sisters. I'm a wee bit concerned (again) about the climbing out of the crib thing (which she hasn't actually done yet, but she IS getting more bold). But other than that, I think these discussions could prove quite useful in the future, especially if I can gain some insight on what antics I can expect out of Olivia as she grows.

I feel privileged to have a good relationship with Olivia's birthmom. We are even planning to meet her the next time she is in the area (she still lives in a neighboring state, but her family lives in a city close to where we live). Even though I am Olivia's Mommy and I don't intend to share that label, I do have a great deal of respect and affection for the woman who courageously carried her, gave birth to her and entrusted her to us.

I have always been impressed with Olivia's birthmother. Yes, she's young, unmarried and was mother to three before she conceived Olivia. But she's trying so hard to do what is best for herself and her kids, despite her earlier decisions. It is so obvious from the way she speaks about them that she loves her kids. She's a good mommy, just trying to make her way through some crummy life situations.

My husband made a comment to me after I was telling him about my conversation with Olivia's birthmother. He said that he's always irritated by well-meaning people who look at Olivia and say, "What a lucky baby" if to say, "You poor, unfortunate thing...born in poverty to a woman who didn't want were lucky to find such great parents." Whether they mean that or not, that's the way it often comes across.

And that just rubs me (and my husband) the wrong way. We feel like WE are the fortunate ones...fortunate that we were in the right place at the right time, that Olivia's birthmother entrusted us with Olivia, that she was willing to sacrifice a lifetime of parenting this beautiful child so that she could give her a life that she herself couldn't provide. Yes, this is the one child she didn't keep, but she knew her circumstances would make life much more difficult for this child than for the other three. So she chose to give her a new start. And that MUST have been an excruciating decision.

So really, I don't mind keeping in touch with this woman and even getting together with her once in awhile. I am so grateful to her for her selfless decision, and for this beautiful child. I never want her to regret her decision, and I want her to always know that Olivia is safe and loved. When Olivia is older, she will come to understand the great sacrifice her birthmother made for her, and I pray that she will be blessed by our ongoing communication with the woman who gave birth to her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My sweet angel baby

Yesterday was a bad day for me. I woke up with the standard sinus headache, which I tend to get with various changes in the weather or when I've spent too much time outside in really hot, sticky conditions. Usually, I can knock these headaches out within a couple of hours with a combination of various allergy, sinus, and headache pills.

Well, yesterday's headache just got worse from the moment I got out of bed, and it took me most of the day to kick it. Until about 3:00, I was dizzy, nauseated, and having a hard time with loud noises and bright lights. It was probably a migraine, and I can only remember one other time that it has been that bad.

Olivia must have sensed my pain and decided to cooperate because she took a 3.5 hour nap in the morning, a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and she managed to play happily and safely by herself between naps while I crashed on the floor within view of wherever she was playing. I'm really not sure how we would have survived the day together if she had been in a bad mood or sick herself. Thank God for small blessings!

Yes, I am a good girl and I took care of Mommy all day!

Friday, July 18, 2008


My husband and I have eased into an experiential learning model of parenting that just came naturally to us. I guess from our own growing up years, we learned that children have to experience certain hazzards in order to understand the need to avoid those in the future. Either that, or we just realized that there was no way we could keep up with our very active child in order to keep her away from every possible fall or bump. She leaves us wondering where they find those children who sit quietly and play with the toys in front of them. Do they really exist? Or do they just sedate those toddlers and babies who are on sitcoms on TV?

In the course of learning to pull up and walk along furniture, Olivia has had her fair share of bumps and bruises. They are usually pretty minor since we've removed most of the hard-edged furniture from the play space in our living room. But as active as she is, we'd have to bubble-wrap the entire living room and remove most of her hard plastic toys to keep her from all bruises. I can't tell you how many times she's been bobbing her head to the music on her stand-up keyboard and then whacked her head on that same keyboard because she got a little to wild with the head bobbing.

Anyway, yesterday I walked into the kitchen to put away the dishes. Since our living space is pretty open and flows from one room to the next, Olivia usually crawls after me, through the dining room and into the kitchen, and then she likes to stand up and hold onto my legs until I pick her up again. Occasionally, she'll get distracted by the dining room chairs, and I glanced over to see her standing up and holding onto one of them. "No, Olivia, don't climb. Come here." She has, in the past, tried to climb the vertical slats on the back of the chair, but she knows the word "No" and usually will abandon the idea of climbing and examine the tablecloth or something for a few minutes.

I heard a WHAP and looked over. She had pulled the chair down on top of herself. It took her a second to react, but when she did...OH BOY. It was one of those breathless type of cries when a baby is REALLY upset, one where she was sobbing and all like "Mommy, how could you let that mean old chair attack me? Did you see what happened? Did you?" Of course, babies have very short memories, so five minutes later, she was playing happily again. She was left with a shiner above her right eye, though.

"See my bruise? Also, here's a shot of my teeth coming in on top."

"The chair attacked me, honest."

Now that we've entered the glorious realm of 8 months, Olivia is enjoying eating more food with her hands. The homemade baby food site recommended cutting soft-cooked foods into small pieces and letting her eat with her hands. It also lists some new foods she can have, including broccoli.

I didn't really think Olivia would enjoy broccoli. She does love to eat with her hands, though. So, we gave it a try.

She LOVED the broccoli (and little pieces of green beans too). Of course, we had to hose her and her high chair down after this little episode, but she thoroughly enjoyed her eating experience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

County Fair

Two posts in one day? Yes, but you won't hear from me at all tomorrow. Olivia and I will be very busy tomorrow.

Tonight, Olivia went to her first county fair. She was wide eyed and taking it all in. We had to see the holsteins since Grandpa was a dairy farmer most of his life and Mommy grew up on that farm. Daddy's Grandpa was also a dairy farmer, so visiting the cows is a required part of a fair trip.

Olivia also saw the sheep, goats, rabbits and horses. She sat and gazed on as we watched the hogs being shown in the arena. We were there to see Olivia's great-grandpa be honored as he was inducted into the county's agricultural hall of fame. She was very patient and enjoyed all of the sights and sounds of the fair.

We fed her and changed her into her pajamas before heading for home since she would undoubtedly be asleep and ready for bed by the time we arrived at home. But just before we left the fairgrounds, Olivia did this.

Don't let the look on her face fool you...she was tired! But she really enjoyed the fair. More county fair photos are on her photo blog.

Now appearing...

Olivia's top teeth are finally popping through. It seems she's been working on these particular teeth for months. MONTHS! But now she has some sharpness pointing through the gums on her two front teeth on top, and I'm almost positive that there's a third one coming in right next to them.

She's been really, really tired lately. She still plays hard when she's awake, and during those playtimes I wonder where she gets her seemingly vast reserves of energy. But then, without warning, she'll start fussing and want to cuddle and immediately you know it's time for nap.

Naps have been blissfully long. I'm attributing this to teething, but it could very well be a growth spurt too. And, thankfully, she's back to the "easy down" nap more climbing in the crib. I put her down awake, give her a pacifier and a blanket to cuddle, and leave the room. She's asleep within minutes. She knows the drill and enjoys her naptime.

I don't want to look at the river. Can't you see I'm tired. Where's my bed?

In other news, 8 months is a fabulous age! Olivia can eat more things with her fingers now, which she LOVES TO DO. She has a bad habit of reaching up and pulling on her hair when she's full, which means that we spend a lot more time washing bananas and bits of carrot out of her hair, but she's just having so much fun with the finger foods that it's hard to be upset about a little food in the hair.

Also! My baby has become a giggle machine. When she's awake and happy and playing, it takes almost nothing to get her to giggle. I can crawl up to her slowly and do the "Jaws" theme, and even though she has no context for knowing what that even means, she just squeals and giggles and crawls away as fast as she can. She thinks I'm hilarious. It's very flattering.

On Friday, Olivia learned to say Mom. Not Mama. It's Mom, or Mom-Mom. It's so, so cute. I don't actually believe she knows what it means, but she likes saying it. And I LOVE hearing it. I couldn't have imagined how much joy one little word would give me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't say you weren't warned.

Right up front I'll tell you that this post is about my infertility. And it includes some photo evidence, so stop right now if you are the least bit squeamish about such things. For those of you who are leaving, here's a gratuitous baby photo, just to thank you for stopping by. :)

What? Haven't you ever taken a bath in a sink?

My monthly visitor arrived yesterday, right on time. Even though I was under no illusions that I might actually be pregnant, it still knocks me down, every time.

When Olivia turned 6 months old, we started working with my FABULOUS Ob/Gyn again to continue exploring/fixing the causes of my infertility. As a Catholic and a teacher/promoter of Natural Family Planning (FertilityCare System) our treatment options are quite different from what most people pursue. What we are trying to do is figure out what's causing the infertility and fix it so we might achieve pregnancy in the old-fashioned way.

We discovered the endometriosis in 2006. My doc did everything he could within the limits of laparoscopic surgery. But endometriosis is almost never an isolated cause of infertility. It typically comes with baggage, such as ovulatory dysfunction, which seems to be another problem of ours.

Once the endo was mostly lasered, our course of action was to get ovulation back into shape. My hormones were sluggish. To get ovulation operational, we tried several things to kick the hormones up a notch.

My main symptom of screwed up hormones was the presence of persistent spotting for several days at the end of each cycle. Other than this spotting, my cycles have always been darn near perfect. They are the perfect length (27-30 days), with normal menstrual bleeding and a stellar buildup of cervical mucus. I even had ovulation cramping near the end of my mucus cycle. All the signs of fertility were there. But I kept having this dang spotting for 5-7 days before my period.

Progesterone supplements weren't doing the trick, so we tried other hormonal tricks to get the ovaries to produce more progesterone on their own. Even though progesterone levels would sometimes go up, the spotting continued on.

Now we are onto another avenue of treatment, still trying to accomplish the same end. Get the hormones into balance and eliminate the spotting. And although this was our first cycle on this new medication, I am still discouraged by the persistence of this spotting.

In the back of my mind, I always wonder if the endometriosis is still our primary barrier to fertility. It was pretty extensive.

Yes, those are my organs. Nasty adhesions and all. I won't torture you with the dozen other photos we have of adhesions on the ovaries, in the cul-de-sac, on the bladder. Just trust me, it was a lot.

The endo had fused my tubes to my round ligaments. They were "kinked" like a garden hose. Still, they were technically open. The doctor sent dye through them and took pictures. Stuff was flowing. Once he lasered off all the endo, they should have been even more open.

But endometriosis is a funny thing. One tiny spot here or there can cause screwed up hormones, deficiencies in ovulation, all kinds of weird things. And we know there were spots that the doc couldn't reach without doing a full laparotomy, so there's still stuff in there that hasn't been removed.

We thought it would be enough to restore fertility. It is sufficient for lots of couples...those who get pregnant after laparoscopy. But I continue to have the same screwed up cycle spotting that I had before the laparoscopy. Maybe we just haven't fixed the hormonal problem yet. Or maybe the endometriosis is still the primary culprit.

I kind of see this as my monthly reminder of God calling us to a different sort of parenthood. Yeah, I know it seems strange that we still work on fixing fertility even though we are happy with adoption and intend to pursue it again, but I look at it like the disease that it is...infertility is not the normal, healthy state of human function. There's a cause there, and I want to know what it is. I want to fix it, just to know that it can be fixed.

I know I've said this here before, but I have a feeling that this infertility is always going to be something of a mystery to me. We may never figure it out. And the start of every new cycle is a reminder of that fact. Sometimes it's a painful reminder, sometimes it's not. As I continue to make peace with my infertility, though, I can thank God every day for the gift it has brought to us. And in thanksgiving for this precious gift, we continue to carry this cross of infertility together, with as much joyfulness as we can muster.

Although, it's not hard to muster up some joy when you see a smile like this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eight Months

These monthly photo shoots are not nearly as easy as Olivia gets older. She is more interested in pulling the monkey's ear tag off (which she successfully did) than looking and smiling at the camera.

You want me to look at what now? Can't you see I'm busy?

Hey Monkey, now that I have your ear tag firmly in my hand, let me tell you a story...

This week Olivia has mastered the following skills:

*Pushing her walk-behind truck without assistance
*Saying "Mama"
*Eating more finger foods, like shredded carrots and little bits of banana
*Figuring out how to fit blocks inside the block-shaped hole on one of those shapes toys.

Our little girl is growing up so fast!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thoughts on transracial adoption

In case you are new to this blog or haven't noticed, my husband and I are both of European (German) descent. Olivia although VERY light-skinned, gets her beautiful dark curls from her fairly dark-skinned African-American (AA) birthfather.

When we first started researching adoption, one of our considerations was whether we'd be open to adopting a child of a different racial or ethnic background. We discovered quickly that with many agencies, it is both less expensive and quicker to adopt if the couple is interested in adopting a baby who is fully or partially AA. The reason for this is that such babies are considered "difficult to place". Frankly, there are more birthmoms carrying AA or biracial babies who want to place their babies for adoption than there are couples willing to adopt them. The agency we were planning to use had stated that their average placement time from homestudy approval was 3-6 months.

My heart went out to these babies, who were just as precious and unique and beautiful as any other babies and just as deserving of a loving family who could support them.

However, there are many things to consider when signing up to become a transracial family. We weren't comfortable with the idea at first. We had actually ruled it out on our preference form for the agency's information session.

It seems funny to me, looking back, because we were comfortable and willing to consider any other mix...Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian or any mix of these that may be available...but AA was out of our realm of consideration.

That is, until our counselor friend called us about this birthmom who wanted to place her baby. I truly did not think my husband would go for it, but he was willing to meet the birthmother as soon as we learned about her and her situation. From that point, there was no turning back.

We still had our doubts. During our whirlwind of a homestudy, we sat with our caseworker and listened while she discussed the challenges involved in a transracial adoption. We participated in the colored beads exercise (which I hate). We began to understand how snowy white our world really was. We had to watch a video on transracial adoption in which a handful of adoptees explained how their world was affected by being raised in white families. A video in which only one of the interviewees was entirely satisfied with her life situation. A video which left us feeling like complete losers who would ruin this child just by being her parents.

We met with friends of ours who had recently adopted a biracial child so we could learn more about their experience. We were stunned by how dark-skinned their half-caucasian child was. Were we really prepared to become a minority family?

We were, however, committed to this birthmother and this child. We had decided that God had handed this situation to us and expected us to make the best of it. After all, there are no guarantees with any child, biological or adopted, but it is up to us to do the best with what we are given, and that's what we were determined to do.

Despite the doubts and questions, we marched on, bugging our caseworker about the homestudy completion date and buying up baby clothes and items on ebay. We prayed for the birthmother, made plans to travel and discussed baby names.

If you've read our adoption story (see sidebar), you may remember the dream I had the night before the C-section. The dream in which I saw our daughter for the first time, with her light skin and full head of hair.

That next day, we both saw and held our daughter for the first time. From that moment, she was our baby. There was not a shred of doubt in our minds that she was meant to be a part of our family.

Life is weird like that. We spend so much time planning and worrying and preparing for all the things that could possibly happen, wondering if things will go well, wondering if we can handle the challenges. And then life happens, and it's not anything like you had imagined. You get through this challenge, and life takes on a new state of normal. You start to forget what life was like before entering this new reality. You finally realize that your life would not be as full without the experiences and circumstances that brought you to where you are today.

As we start thinking and talking about a second adoption, we'll revisit the whole transracial issue. In truth, most people don't realize that Olivia is mixed race. Most people think she's Italian or part Hispanic or something, and a few people don't even bother to realize that she's not biologically related to us. I guess they think the hair is just some wild gene that has been lying dormant in us. If we choose to adopt a biracial child the second time around, he/she is very likely to be much darker and obviously mixed race.

What would be Olivia's reality, though, if she had remained in her birth family? She'd still be a biracial child in a white world, except she would only have one parent and likely live most of her life in poverty. This is the reality for a lot of biracial children, who are often born to young, single, white mothers who are ill equipped to give their children a positive perspective on their AA heritage. Many of these children are not born into happy circumstances.

Over the years, we will undoubtedly become more familiar with the many issues we will face in raising Olivia and our other future children. We will learn more about other cultural and racial realities. We will help Olivia discover her identity as an adoptee of caucasian and AA descent. But most importantly, we will help her understand her identity as a unique and precious child of God, with gifts and talents and a story all her own. We will take what God has given us and do our very best. We will never deny Olivia's racial identity because that is a part of who she is. She is beautiful and wonderful and we are so blessed to be her parents.

There is always going to be a lot of debate "out there" about the merits of transracial adoption. But it doesn't matter to us. We didn't choose was chosen for us. And it is a perfect fit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The best toys aren't toys at all.

Olivia is in a stage now where her favorite thing to do is whatever she's not supposed to be doing. (I've heard this stage lasts a long, long time.) So, naturally, she plays with her toys for about 3 seconds each, but she can spend fifteen minutes being completely enthralled with the process of inspecting and climbing in her own carseat. Yesterday, I put the carseat in the recliner while I folded some laundry. We were getting ready to go out. I left the room for two seconds, and came back to find that she had pulled the carseat upside down on top of herself (like she was hiding underneath it). She didn't was like she meant to do that. She fussed when I tried to take the seat away, so I turned it over and let her play with it.

She laughed her evil laugh because she thought she was getting away with something.

Other "non-toys" that she likes to turn into toys include the laundry basket (turned upside down and pushed around like a walker),

Daddy's shoelaces, which are SO FACINATING,

the elliptical machine,

her stroller,

and, best of all, a CELL PHONE! I discovered that my cell phone will entertain her for hours in the grocery store. Better than any toy ever invented. So we dug up one of our old phones and let her play with it when she's trying to eat the remote or some other active electronic device. She thinks she's really getting away with something.

There are a few toys that still capture her attention. The best yet...she's learned to push her little truck without assistance and without falling! She's getting pretty fast too. I think with a little practice, she'll be walking by 9 months! We'll see...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The bombs bursting in air...

This 4th of July weekend was quite eventful for us, despite Olivia's recent illness. She was a little tired, but other than that she was back to her usual self.

On Friday, we spent the afternoon at a family gathering with about 25 members of my extended family. It was fun, but a little exhausting for our tired little girl. She spent a lot of time chillin' outside.

After a good nap in the late afternoon, Olivia wasn't really tired at her regular bedtime, so we decided to drive a couple of miles over to where the local fireworks display was going to be. We parked and got Olivia out of her seat so she could watch. I REALLY wish I had taken my camera with me. While we were waiting, she stood in Daddy's lap and played with the steering wheel. It was so cute. And when the fireworks started with a bunch of really bright flares, she just stared in awe.

Overall, the fireworks were more fun for us than they were for her. After awhile, she got bored and started playing with the steering wheel again. I was glad that we got to go, though. Fireworks were always one of my favorite things about summer. While we may make the fireworks an annual tradition for our family, I pray that our children will never have to witness what they actually represent.

We had a bridal shower to attend on Saturday, and today we played in the yard and then had some family over for a cookout at our house. Olivia enjoyed playing with the neighbor's dog.

It was a great weekend, but Olivia was worn out! She went to bed early tonight. I think we'll keep it pretty low key tomorrow. Lots of napping and relaxing at home.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Our sweet baby is back.

The antibiotics kicked in pretty quickly, and within 24 hours, Olivia's temperature was almost back to normal. She has been sleeping A LOT (and, thankfully, slept well the last two nights, only waking once each night for more Tylenol). But other than that, she's back to her cheery self about 80 percent of the time. Right now, she just woke up from her nap and I can hear her in her crib talking to herself. "Babababababababah!" That means she's in a good mood, which bodes well for our 4th of July get-together with the family.

Must go get the princess out of her bedchamber.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


In a court hearing completely devoid of fanfare, Olivia's adoption was finalized today.

Because of various circumstances, none of our family was able to make it to the hearing. This was fortunate because the hearing lasted all of 3 minutes, and Olivia cried through the whole thing.

It turns out that the whole teething thing that seemed to take a nasty turn yesterday was actually the beginning symptoms of some nasty infection. I still think she's teething, which just adds insult to injury at this point because she has various sources for her misery. She slept very little last night, sleeping in 30 and 60 minute intervals all night. The Tylenol and ibuprofen didn't seem to be doing much for her least not for long. She was so exhausted that she fell asleep during breakfast, which she NEVER does.

Our hearing was scheduled for 9:00 a.m., and we left the house at 8:00. By the time we arrived, Olivia was burning up. She had been moaning some, and by the time we entered the courthouse, she was shivering (it was over 80 degrees today). We waited about 15 minutes for the hearing to start, and by then she was at her wits end. It was a constant "I'm sick!" cry...not a wail or scream, just a pittiful, constant sob. Thankfully, the judge and attorney were very understanding, and as soon as we were all official and stuff, we headed off to the doctor's office.

Because of circumstances, this was the only picture we got at the courthouse (Olivia with Daddy in the atrium).

The doctor ordered some lab tests to rule out some things. The nice nurses who made her scream by drawing blood gave her a stuffed "Fox in Socks" doll. Here she is with it on the way home. You can see the bandage on her arm where they drew blood.

All evidence (so far) points to some internal infection that she's fighting. So we started her on antibiotics tonight and are praying they do the trick. Tonight will probably be a long night of fitful sleep and constant doses of medication to keep her fever down. It got up to almost 102 degrees at one point today.

So, in summary, it was a pretty crummy day overall, but at least she's legally and totally ours now. I feel like we should have felt the weight of this momentous occasion, but in the end, we were too busy being parents to our sick little girl to dwell on the meaning of the day.

Now I must get to sleep. Olivia just went down for the night, which likely means that she'll be up in a couple of hours needing comfort and more drugs. After last night, I need all the sleep I can get while I can get it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


It can only be teething. I can't find any other logical explanation. My happy, giggly baby has turned into a clingy, moaning mess overnight.

For the past few weeks, Olivia has been working on these teeth...chewing and drooling more than usual. We have watched as the little bulges appeared on her gums, announcing that teeth were getting ready to pop through any time. Occasionally over the past few weeks, she has been complain-y at night or a little feverish, and I've even had to get up once or twice in the middle of the night to comfort her.

Then last night, I had to rock her back to sleep at 2:00 a.m., and she just moaned and sniffed the whole time. She slept this morning until 7:45! Which is significant, since she hasn't slept past 6:15 in at least a month. She's extremely congested, is running a fever, wails when I try to touch her gums, and has wanted to do nothing but cuddle all day. And my baby is not a cuddler...she's little Miss Activity and can't be bothered with sitting still unless she is very tired or sick or in pain.

She's asleep again now. So far today she has been awake for a total of 3.5 hours. And it's 2:30 p.m. right now.

We go to court to finalize our adoption tomorrow, and I'm praying that those dang teeth will pop through already so that she'll be in a better mood tomorrow. Looks like I'll be stocking up on baby Tylenol and settling in for a few days of cuddling my sweet little teething girl. Poor baby. It must really hurt to have those hard teeth ripping right through her gums like that.