Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekend update

It's Saturday afternoon. JB and Isaac have headed to Seaside. JB needs to register for his race which is tomorrow. A half-marathon! He hasn't even run it yet, and I am already incredibly proud of him. Especially considering he hasn't been able to train quite as intently as of recent due to the events surrounding the last month of both of our lives.

I am quite disappointed, but I am not going to be able to go to the race tomorrow. I was planning on going and taking both the boys, but it is going to be very cold (for these parts.) Thirties overnight and only into the forties by the time the race starts. And with windchill and wind speeds, it's going to be an absolutely miserable race morning for a mom and two young babies. I really want to see JB cross the finish line, but you have to park your car and shuttle in which means I'll be forced to be outside, in the cold, with both children, for over three hours. I'd be forced to breastfeed outside in that cold as well! Both JB and I think it is better that we stay home. Bummer!

I am contemplating attempting to go to church by myself tomorrow morning. I'll see how courageous I am come morning time and how I am feeling. I know there would be plenty of people willing to help me once I arrive if one boy or the other is having a difficult morning. Our church has the children stay in the service during worship. This wasn't a real issue when it was just Isaac and he was little. The kid was the quietest kid ever. But now that he is older and babbling, and now that he has a little brother who doesn't think quiet is nearly as important, it's a whole new ball game! After worship, Isaac heads to nursery, and Elijah stays with me. I can listen to service from inside or I can go to a nursing mother's room where there is a speaker for you to hear the service.

Speaking of my health, today, officially marks four weeks since my c-section. This is the date my doctor releases me from some of my restrictions. I am now allowed to drive! It would seem terribly frustrating to not be able to drive, but quite honestly, there haven't been too many places I wanted to go, and we've had a guest here the whole time that was able to do the driving for me if I did want to go somewhere.

I am also now able to lift my Isaac. I realized that I misread Dr. G's note at his doctor's appointment. He is not 29 pounds but 22. Still too much for me to carry around until today. I am still supposed to "only carry when necessary" which means in and out of the crib, up and off of the changing table, in and out of the car, but it still feels so good to be able to pick him up when he crawls over to me, grabs onto my pants, stands up, and holds his arms up wanting Mommy! I really missed being able to hold him.

I still have another two weeks before I am able to go for walks, walk the dog, vacuum (shucks!), or do any really strenuous activities. I am really starting to look forward to being able to go on a walk with all my boys, stop at the bay, and maybe even take a trek to the park. I know it will be quite some time before I am able to run again, but walking will suit me just fine.

I feel like I am currently operating at about 80-85% of my full capacity. I still have some GI issues that have been plaguing me and the area surrounding my incision is still a bit sensitive and limiting, but otherwise, I am doing really well! The improvement since I have come home is amazing, and I look forward to seeing where I am in one more month's time.

JB and I actually signed up yesterday for the Eglin AFB Gate to gate 4.4 mile run/walk on Memorial Day, May 25th. JB has signed up to run it. I have signed up to walk it. Anyone interested in joining me? It's a 4.4 mile walk from one the east gate of Eglin AFB to the west! JB has also signed up for a mini triathlon in June. I was thinking I'd like to do it with him, but we just aren't sure I'll be ready for that yet even though the bike, run, and swim are all fairly short distances that most people should be able to do without intensive training. At least the boys and I will be able to watch him participate!

All right. Time to get some stuff done around the house while Isaac is gone. It is amazing how different the house feels when just one of my little guys isn't here. Totally changes everything!

One month

Pretty hard to believe but today marks Elijah's first month in the world. Joia took these pictures on Tuesday -- a few days shy of one month but quite within qualifying time in my opinion.

I think the general consensus is that Isaac looks like JB. However, to be honest, I don't see either of us. Both JB and I have thought he looks most like my brother Keith. I actually thought it to myself and then JB admitted it outloud. Either way, it appears that both of our boys look a lot like JB and nothing like me. :)

Joia has such patience when taking pictures! Isn' this a great shot? It's funny because the one thing I told JB I wanted Elijah to get was JB's feet. Mine are so long and veiny and gangly. It appears however that our boy inherited my long feet and toes.

Elijah and his girlfriend Moriah. Isn't she gorgeous?

I love this picture! I don't love that Elijah is crying, but take a look at the paws that have jumped over the backside of the couch. This photo paints a prefect portrait of our puppy. He has to be in the middle of EVERYthing.

Keenan having a talk with Elijah. "What are your intentions for my sister, dude?" This pic also shows how long Elijah is even though he is over a month younger than Moriah.

The photographer (and her in-awe subject)!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Park outing

On one of Joan's last days here, we took the van to the park on base. She had been taking walks there with Isaac regularly, but I can't walk that far yet. So while JB watched a sleeping and well-fed Elijah, we headed to the park. It was so wonderful to get out of the house and see Isaac outside laughing.

I remember when we moved to Eglin last summer, I saw this park and the waterpark that accompanies it and said outloud to JB that it was a shame we'd never have a child we could take to play there during our three years on base. What a blessing that we'll be able to watch our little Isaac play there all because Bri chose us to be his Dad and Mom! Adoption rocks!

Here's some photos from our excursion:

Isaac tried the slide with Joanie. He wasn't so sure about it.

Big giggles for Mommy.

Isaac thought riding by himself was just okay. I think it made him a bit nervous.

They have this really cool super big swing that you can sit in WITH your child! How cool is that?! It's way comfortable and Isaac liked it best of all!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Come and Gone

We said good bye this morning to our great friends Dave & Lesley. They are headed back to their real lives in good ol' Rochester. Tara and her boyfriend Shomir are coming in a week from today followed by my Mom.

This week and next week, JB is on a "paternity / research" block. He is working on a research project but can do that from home. He also has to go into the clinic to see patients and return T-cons (calls from patients). This next week, before Tara and Shomir come in, should give us the opportunity to just live as a family. It will also allow me to start practicing for when I am home all day with both babies by myself.

I appreciate all the encouragement from so many of you that I can do this. I totally know I can. It is difficult to explain, but when your body doesn't feel good, it is hard to imagine that it will ever feel good. You start thinking that you will always be operating at a lesser degree. As a result, I end up trying to picture me taking care of two babies forever, feeling below average. Each day that I wake up feeling healthier, I am more encouraged and reminded that eventually, I will be feeling myself again. At full steam, I know I will have a completely different outlook on the journey ahead of us.

I have soooo many pictures from Joan's visit that I still want to post on the blog. I'll keep posting a few here and there. She took some great shots!

My first shiner

Photo captured during breakfast this morning. Take a look at the bruise on Isaac's left eye. He hit his head on the bed in the guest room. As he gets more mobile, the war wounds become greater and greater. He cried hard for a few minutes but was quickly on the move again!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Great friends arrive

Well it's been happy times and sad times here in the Kit. home. Dave & Lesley arrived last night. How wonderful to see them! They were some of our very closest friends during our years in Minnesota, and it always rejuvenates me to find that you can so easily return to where you were when you fellowship with good friends. It doesn't feel like nearly two years have gone by since we lived in Rochester Towers together. It truly feels like no time has elapsed at all. They are both working as residents at Mayo right now. Dave is an orthopedic surgeon and Lesley a pediatrician. How awesome that they took some of their vacation time to drive to see us in Florida.

The sad times however include saying good bye to Joan who left early this morning to return to Fort Lauderdale. I feel so blessed that she chose to give up a week of her life to help us here on Eglin. We were so amazingly fortunate to have her here with us. Roy, Joan & Bri have always been a second family to me and our relationship has grown even stronger by the love we all share for Isaac (and Elijah!)

Today we took Dave & Lesley to Destin for lunch -- my second outing since becoming a mom to two boys. We are now enjoying some American Idol while JB cooks us all a seafood dinner. Lesley took more pictures than I did so hopefully I can snag them from her (or direct you to her blog when she posts them) to share.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How comforters are created

Sunday evening, Becky joined our family and Joan for dinner. As dinner concluded, the three of us gals found ourselves sitting around the dinner table talking about infertility and pregnancy loss. Both Joan, Becky, and I have each travelled (and are travelling) a lengthy and hard road to parenthood. It was wonderful to be able to talk with two kindred spirits about a topic so close to my heart.

Joan had shared a devotional passage with me from one of Charles Stanley's publications early on in her visit to Eglin. I have found many scriptures that have brought me comfort in the course of our journey to parenthood, but I don't remember ever having read this scripture:

2 Cor 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

How have I missed these verses for all these years?!

I can vividly remember walking out of a public restroom stall during an especially painful time of our infertility journey. I don't remember exactly where I was or exactly which bad news we had just received. But I do remember shutting that bathroom stall door, putting my face in my hands, and sobbing. I remember telling the Lord, "That's it! That's enough pain! I now feel like I have experienced enough pain to understand it and provide understanding to others."

Looking back, I can now see that I didn't possibly have enough understanding to relate to the plight of others on this journey. God needed me to have more. He needed me to really go into the valley so that I could truly understand the hurt people feel when they are there. Being in the valley is horrible. It hurts so badly. But he needed me to be there so I could understand what it felt like.

That pain has allowed me not only to be there for new friends like Becky as they travel the road we just travelled. It is a pain that transcends infertility and moves into many other realms. I remember the divorce of another dear friend. As I sat in my living room crying with her, I remember feeling like I understood exactly what it felt like to have a dream ripped out from underneath you. She had so many thoughts and plans and hopes for her life. What did she do with those dreams that would never come true? I didn't understand what divorce felt like. But I did understand what the loss of a dream and the grief that accompanies that loss feels like. That I understood.

Here is the devotional in its entirety. I pray it ministers to you as it has to me.

Job asked a challenging question in his time of suffering: "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10). Even hardship has a place in the Lord's plan.

During a particularly painful time in my life, I decided that I ought to glean something from my distress. That decision allowed the Lord to open up a well of compassion in my heart that I often dip from to comfort those facing similar trials.

I found great solace in Paul's words about God, who "comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction" (2 Cor 1:4). Think about the kind of people you seek out when you feel hurt. You want someone who has felt your pain, right? A person who's walked the path we find ourselves on can understand our suffering and provide wise counsel. According to the apostle, passing through a "valley experience" prepares us to be a blessing and encouragement to those who must go through something similar later. What's required is that we accept the adversity He has placed in our way and choose to learn from the situation.

God is the Lord and Master of our life, and He therefore has the right to use us as comforters and encouragers to those in our sphere of influence. As His servants, we must be willing to receive whatever training is necessary to complete His will, even when it hurts. Do not waste your suffering! Instead, use it to bring glory to the Lord.

Isaac's new hang out

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday Flashback

I can always count on Joan! She managed to get a photo of Elijah in his Sunday outfit yesterday. (This is before we put his socks on!)

And here is a flashback to little Isaac on his first Sunday in the same outfit:

Here's what Isaac wore yesterday on his first Sunday as a big brother. Can you see how red his knees are from all the crawling he is doing? We actually Isaac is going to walk very soon. He is starting to stand and let go of things all the time.

Football fun

Isaac loves his little football from Grama K. He especially loves sticking it in his mouth or in Daddy's mouth. Daddy finds it tastes quite bitter!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We made it!

I am proud tot say that we successfully made it to church this morning. Not only did we make it, but we made it on time (I hate to be late for anything), had Elijah fed right before we left so he didn't need to eat until we got home, had Isaac's first nap completed and a bottle prepared for him to drink before worship, and had everything we needed packed in the diaper bag. Our only "lesson learned" in this new terrain of two babies was that Isaac will need a separate diaper bag so that we can leave a bag with him when we bring him to his class (which he loves!) after worship is over. We put all their stuff in one bag without thinking about the fact that Isaac would be in a separate location.

I'm not one of those sentimental moms who gets all goo-goo over memories, but it was fun to have Elijah wear the same outfit to church for his first Sunday that big brother wore just nine months ago. Normally I am not sure I'd remember a detail like this, but when it hasn't even been a year, your mind is still fresh! How has Isaac grown up so fast?! Not only that but little Elijah, whom I'm falling head over heels for even more with every passing day and longer stretch of sleep, is now nearing a month old as well. Slow down guys!

It was great to be back at church. We truly love the people that make up the congregation. It has been many weeks since we have seen many of them and we truly missed all the smiling faces of kids and adults. Crossway is full of truly amazing people that we are very lucky to know.

Tonight JB is treating Joan to her favorite -- Indian food -- and we have invited Becky, whose husband John is on a mission trip to Peru, to join us. Joan is treating us to a special dessert as well! My sweet tooth disappeared for a bit but is back with a vengeance! Joan promises me this dessert has chocolate in it so I am pumped!

Dog and Boy in the window

Our Scrubby has a favorite spot in our living room -- the perfect place to guard our home from squirrels and foxes and garbage trucks and little kids with bookbags. Recently, Isaac decided that he had equal fascination with the window spot. And Scrubs has willingly agreed to share the spot with his chubby pack member.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Out for a walk

Joan and Isaac went for a walk and returned with some fun pictures to show Mom what they were up to. Mom can't wait to be able to go on a walk too. She's getting better and better so hopefully she'll be walking the block in no time.

Wrestle mania

Here is Isaac stalking and conquering Dad

Three weeks

Hard to believe I know, but our little Elijah is three weeks old today.

In celebration of his third week in the world, JB moved back into the bedroom with us last night, forgoing the uninterrupted sleep offered by the couch.

As we laid next to each other in our bed last night, JB remarked that the last three weeks have seemed more like three years. I had to agree. While it is difficult to believe that the baby we waited so long for is already nearing a month old, it is also hard to comprehend how much has occurred in our lives in such a short period of time.

But with time, comes experience. Experience for the entire family -- all the way down to the tiniest member.

Elijah's first week in the world was a difficult one for all of us. Not only was I trying to breastfeed while in a tremendous amount of pain, but Elijah was getting anxious for my milk to come in. In addition, we found out a few days after his birth that our little guy had two nasty sores on the tops of both his feet. These were "pressure ulcers" created by whoever put the tape around his feet designed to hold his security tag in place at the hospital. While we didn't make a big deal of this, they did take some pictures of his feet when we were being discharged in hopes that people could learn from the mistake made. We just didn't want another little baby to have this happen.

Once that tape came off and Mom started feeling better and we were able to move to our own home with our own baby stuff, Elijah quickly began to settle. Those powerful lungs that we heard nearly continually in the hospital, began to see usage on a more limited basis.

Now, three weeks into life, Elijah has decided that waking up once a night is sufficient -- a great blessing to his still-recovering Mom. We feed right around 10pm, again around 3am, and then again around 6am. Not too bad at all. Of course, Mom recognizes that schedules are subject to change, but she is still incredibly thankful that Elijah has been following this pattern for about five days in a row, creating hope that any subsequent changes will only result in more sleep for Mom.

Many moms have told me that the moment you hold your little baby for the first time, you are hooked for life. I have to admit that both with Isaac and Elijah, I didn't have that instant "forever-connection." For me, it seems to take a little bit of time for the two of us to get to know each other. For me to feel comfortable being their caretaker. For me to really feel like their Mom. I used to feel shy in admitting this, but I've never been too shy to be honest, and I didn't want to start now. It wasn't that I didn't love both my boys as soon as they were born. I loved them tremendously. It's just that it took me a bit of time to truly feel that they were mine, that they were going to be mine forever, and that I was going to be their Mom for life.

For Isaac, that connection seemed to solidify itself on our trip to Minnesota about six weeks after he was born. It was during that horrible delayed-overnight and loss-of-luggage-trip that I really felt like Isaac and I connected. I suddenly realized that I was his Mom. I was in charge of every single thing he did. I was the one making every decision on his behalf. He and I were going to be a team for a long time.

It has been during the last few days, that that Mom-son connection has really begun to take place with Elijah. I am now able to understand his cries and his needs. I don't feel like I am guessing at what he is wanting so much anymore. I feel like I am his Mom. I feel like I know him and know what he needs, at least most of the time. That is a good feeling.

I'm not sure if I am alone in the amount of time it has taken me to feel "in the mom groove" with both of my boys. With Isaac, I worried about how long it was taking me to feel like his Mom. With Elijah, I really didn't worry about it as this was my second time around, and I knew the groove would find itself.

As for our days, the extra set of hands (currently Joan's) allows me some extra luxuries. I am able to take a good nap most days. I am able to have help with diapers and feeding Isaac. While enjoying these luxuries, I am also aware that these angel-guests will not be present for an incredible amount of time and so I am constantly trying to plan out how I would handle a certain situation if faced with it by myself. What do I do if Isaac wakes up for the morning while I am in the middle of feeding Elijah? What if Elijah decides it is time to eat while I am giving Isaac a bath? How do I make sure that Isaac is playing safely when Elijah decides it is time for me to change his diaper? I am quietly taking all of this in while enjoying the fact that I don't currently have to navigate these potential land mines -- trying to plan ahead for how I will do things when it is just me.

I've also realized that humor will be a key weapon to my sanity. One of these funny stories came through Joan. While we have a changing area in our bedroom set up for Elijah, we do occasionally change him in the nursery -- especially when I am napping in the bedroom. It is for this reason that I have stashed a few newborn diapers on the corner of Isaac's changing table. Isaac's size 4 diapers are located in a diaper bag off the side of the changing table. Joan, however, didn't know this. The first time she changed Isaac, she grabbed one of the newborn diapers. She would remark later that it seemed a bit on the small side, but she figured that we were the parents and we knew what we were doing. Isaac however probably thought this newbie was quite confused. It was only later, when she changed Elijah and I told her of my stash of newborn diapers, that Joan realized what she had done and admitted that Isaac had spent the morning in his little brother's diaper. John gave her a hard time about "trying to put his son in a thong" and we all had a great laugh (and are still laughing) at the thought of our chubby Isaac wearing a NB size diaper! ;)

I also managed to laugh yesterday when little Elijah officially cristened me as his Mom. We all know that little boys seem to enjoy a good urination when their diaper is removed. But Elijah hadn't seemed to want to participate in this activity. At least he didn't want to participate until his bath, when he shot a solid stream right over JB's shoulder and onto the kitchen floor. I should have taken that as a warning, but I attributed it to the warm bath water, and did not take proper precautions.

Yesterday, Joan handed me a diaper and a wipe while I was sitting on the couch, and I decided to change my little boy while he was lying on my lap. Yes, you guessed it. Elijah chose that moment to decide that he would be a typical little boy. What timing. Of course, the story would be even funnier if he decided to cristen me in another bodily fluid way at the time same. Since I avoid extreme talk of bodily fluids on my blog, I'll leave that part to your imagination as I am sure your mind can paint it nearly identical to how it happened. Needless to say all my clothes went into the laundry and I went into the shower.

As the start of our fourth week in the world begins, here are a few pictures to celebrate our miracle(s):

Friday, February 20, 2009

Some Joanie pics

Our first boy -- wishing all these new little boys weren't invading his home. :)

Joan feeding Ipod.

Scrubs eating Isaac's hand.

"Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine spots!"

Our three boys chilling together in the living room.

Big and little.

Isaac learning to be gentle.

Our Elijah.

Bath time! One of Isaac's favorite activities.

Post-bath chub!

First bath!

Our family after baths for both boys.

First bottle!

Daddy and Isaac before bed last night.

Isaac is introducing himself to the toy that his birthmom Bri sent for him. He loves it Bri! Thank you so much!

Here's Joan the courageous preparing to take our two eldest boys out for a walk.

When Joan went to get Isaac out of his crib on her first afternoon here, he didn't want to get out. He wanted to keep playing. Here he is pulling the tag on the elephant attached to his mobile. I think the mobile may have to come down if it is going to survive long enough to greet Isaac's little brother.

Isaac playing in his crib while Scrubs looks on.