Thursday, April 30, 2009


When Elijah was born, many people gave us "twin" outfits for them. I finally was able to use one of the outfits as Elijah is now getting bigger. These little dinosaur outfits are from my Mom. Isaac's will be too small in days probably, so I wanted to have an opportunity to put them in them before the window is passed. I got both boys changed without a problem. However, getting a picture of them together was a whole 'nother story.

Attempt one. Isaac had been in the middle of playing and thought this picture thingy was a very bad idea.

Attempt two. This is right before Isaac falls off the footstool. What a bad Mommy! Putting pictures over safety. Many tears ensue.

Mom changes strategies and decides to take pictures of the boys individually instead. Elijah thought this was a great idea!

Here's the photo I decided to use for his three month picture. I love this kid!

Isaac was incredibly pleased with the idea of taking his picture by himself. No problem Mom. I can pose for a picture of me. Just don't make me share the stage with that little brother of mine, okay?

I had to include one that showed the big dinosaur head on his rear end. How cute is that? Isaac doesn't like this picture. He said it makes his thighs look fat. Ha! I love that chub.

Running from Mommy in the hallway.

Stoppin' for a quick smile.

And giving me a funny face.
I also got a very cute video of the two boys which shows off a bunch of their skills. We are excitedly waiting for Grama K., Aunt Gabbi, and cousins Grace and Nate to arrive from Fort Lauderdale so we are talking about that a lot in the video.

Saying good bye to John & Becky

We had John and Becky over for dinner last night. They even brought their little pup Annie who did very well with Scrubs. She also did very well with Isaac. Isaac chased that little dog around the entire night and kept trying to get Annie to give her licks like Scrubs does. It was very cute! Anyways, the moving process began at John and Becky's house yesterday and by Tuesday, they will be on their way to Washington D.C.

I know I speak for everyone who has gotten to know this couple here on Eglin AFB, when I say that they are amazing people, full of life and love for each other and the Lord. I am so excited to see where the Lord takes them in the next few years together. They have a lot of life changes going on right now, and I know life is stressful. I also know that I am going to miss Becky tremendously. She has been such a great sister in the Lord for me during the last year.

Okay, before I start crying, I'll leave this post at that. Thank you for blessing our lives John and Becky. We look forward to visiting you and staying up-t0-date on your lives through the wonders of the Internet and possibly even (gasp!) the phone.

Please continue to keep them in their prayers as they await the results of their latest IVF. Those of you who have followed my journey from the beginning (or have read old blogs), know what kind of ups and downs infertility treatments can evoke. Please pray for a positive result and a healthy pregnancy at the end of this two week wait.

Will miss you guys!

Three months old

I'm not sure when you celebrate the three month birthday of a child born on the 31st of January. There are not 31 days in April! So I'm picking the last day of the month to celebrate it instead. Here's a picture of our little guy, chunkin' away. He is smiling like crazy, starting to talk and coo more, and sleeping through the night like a champ. He and I had a rough start with my week in the hospital and long recovery as well as his difficulty in getting enough to eat. But now that food is coming readily, he is sooooo much happier, I am more relaxed and confident, and we are the best of buds. I am so blessed by both my boys and amazed that there actually is room in my heart to love both my kids equally but in such different ways. Happy three months Elijah. Thank you for blessing my life!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lil' Doctor

Thanks to my neighbor for this cute little bib!

Baby recommendation

Someone put a link to this very cool pacifier thermometer on my blog. I must tell you that I have one of these. Someone gave it to me for a gift when Isaac was born. However, I realized that this only works if your child uses a pacifier. Isaac quit using a pacifier when he was about two months old. A few weeks ago I thought I would try this pacifier thing. I tried to put it in his mouth and he got very upset!

Elijah is still a pacifier user so sometime I'll have to try it on him. I don't think he'll go quite as postal as Isaac did!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Marley & Scrubs

You know that scene in Marley & Me where Jennifer Anniston has just gotten all her kids to sleep and she falls onto her bed, arm draped over her dog, in pure exhaustion, only to have the garbage truck roll by sending Marley into a barking fit and causing both babies to wake up crying?

Today, that happened to me.

I decided to try something new today. I draped a sheet over the comforter of the guest bed and let Scrubs take a nap on there with me. I'd do it on our bed, but I don't want him to get into the habit of thinking he can sleep with me. And, our bed is really high. I'm not Scrubs could jump up there without a real running leap.

You could tell Scrubs was in heaven when I said, "Up!" and he realized I was going to let him join me. Me? Get on the furniture? With you? He immediately jumped up and draped his chin over my leg ... pure doggy heaven.

In fact, we were all in heaven. Elijah fell asleep on my chest. I'm big on not having my kids sleep with me, but I have taken Joia's advice. She once told me that when Keenan was a baby she used to try to take at least one daily nap with him. I thought this was a great idea, and I tried to do it with Isaac and now Elijah as often as I can while they are still a little baby. Some days he doesn't want to go to sleep, other days we are interrupted by Isaac waking up or me having to go to the bathroom. But today, it worked perfectly! Elijah was asleep on my chest, Isaac was asleep in his crib, I was asleep on the bed, Scrubby was asleep on my leg . . .

And then . . .

The Fed Ex man came by. He didn't need a signature or anything. He just rang the bell to let me know he was there!

For those of you who don't know Scrubs personally, you may not know that he is not a big barking dog. I've heard this is a little true of the breed, and it is definitely true of him. He'll give a little bark now and then, but never usually more than one unless he is really unnerved. But this ring woke him out of a dead sleep, and he was in a new place, on a new bed, in the back of the house where he couldn't see what was going on and couldn't protect us from the big bad Fed Ex guys. He jumped off the bed, went running down the hallway barking, causing both Elijah on my chest to start crying and Isaac in his crib to wake up crying!

And I think I started crying too. :( I felt bad after that because I got so mad at Scrubs. I really yelled at him, and I could tell that he had no idea why. He just sat there looking at me as if to say: I thought I was supposed to protect you! That's my job!

Poor Scrubby. Poor me. Poor boys. Nap time over.

I've decided to put a note on the door asking people to knock instead of ring the bell. I hope that doesn't appear rude. I'm also going to ask that the package guys just drop their package off if they don't need a signature. We'll find it eventually.

My little Marley . . .

I shoulda known . . .

This was my attempt at a picture of Isaac in his cute little outfit before church on Sunday morning. Yes, I did attempt and get to church on my own on Sunday. And I did a mighty good job of it too. I remembered everything, the kids were dressed appropriately, I was dressed appropriately. It was a peaceful and great morning.

However, I shoulda known that Isaac's tears when I put him down for a picture was a sign that he wasn't feeling good ... again. Right before I put him into nursery, I thought he felt a little warm, but chalked it up to the church being hot and me being "overly motherly". However, ten minutes after I dropped him off, they were calling me out to get him. I could hear him screaming in the hallway. Roxanne was trying to comfort him, to absolutely no avail, and she asked me if I knew he was burning up!? So I guess my intuition was correct.

I took Isaac and Elijah, piled them into the car before I even got to hear the sermon, and drove to the hospital. I had to wait a bit to see JB because he was quite busy, but he was able to take about ten minutes and check Isaac out. He had a temperature of 104! What is it with this kid and his temperature? No apparent earache either. One of JB's fellow residents, Kacey, was there, and comforted us with an unbiased, not-his-parent assessment. (There's a reason doctors don't treat their own family. It just really isn't possible!) It seems he is just getting some illnesses back-t0-back and for whatever reason, he is more prone to them manifesting themselves with fevers. Poor little guy. The good thing is that after some Tylenol and a FOUR hour nap, he was more like himself. It's now Tuesday and while the fever is not gone, he seems to be doing a bit better everyday.

However, despite not making it through the entire service, I am very proud of myself for getting to church solo. It honestly wasn't bad at all. I did miss MOPS today due to Isaac being sick but am enjoying a very productive morning at home.

I am also very excited about all the company we have coming in. I realized that between company and travels, we have a lot going on! Our list includes:
  • On Thursday, JB's Mom and our sister-in-law Gabbi and her two kids Grace & Nathan are coming in to help us celebrate Isaac's birthday party!
  • Then a few days later, Joan is coming to keep me company while JB goes out of town for a week.
  • A few days after she leaves, my parents are coming up for Memorial Day.
  • After they leave, we'll be heading out to visit Kentucky and then head to New York for Ajit's wedding.
  • About a week after we get back, my Dad is coming up to spend a week during his summer vacation.
  • I have also booked a ticket to Chicago in mid-June with Elijah so that my Grama H. can meet the little guy as she has been pretty sick in recent months.
  • Over the Fourth of July, my brother, his wife, and their new baby are coming to visit.
  • And then come late July, we are all heading to Colorado where JB is attending another Wilderness Medicine Conference. I am so blessed that my great friend (and Isaac's godmother) Kelsey will be joining us in Snowmass to help me with the boys and just spend some time with for awhile! Yippee!
Whew . . . I'm exhausted just writing out that list. So much for my plans to lay low for awhile. I managed to, for about four months. No it's time to get the party started!

Cool Recommendation & trivia

I get two magazines delivered to my house each month. In my latest issue of Fitness, they had a link to a great website: You can get FREE music to listen to when you run! Not only is it updated every two weeks, but it is completely ethical as well. I can't wait for JB to get home to help me learn how to download it from my website to my nanopod. I still don't get a lot of this technology. But I am excited that they tell me it's possible. Let me know if any of you try it out. And I'll be sure to post again when I do as well.

So, now for the trivia question. And if you have visited my house and seen my other magazines, you can't guess. What do you think the other magazine is that I subscribe to? No cheaters please! If I've told you or you've seen it, don't participate. Only people who are truly making a guess.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dogs and Babies

Got another blog question I thought was pretty interesting:

It seems like Srubs has transitioned really well to two babies in the house. We have two Goldens and I was wondering (if Lord willing we are able to bring a child into our household) if you had any tips for families with pets. Just curious!

So, here is my two cents ... take it for what it is worth. Scrubs is my very first dog so I don't profess to be a dog professional in any sense of the word. In addition, Scrubs is far from perfection. He does amazing with the kids, but even just this morning we caught him chewing one of Isaac's toys to shreds ...

We brought Scrubs home in July of 2007. At the time, he was just two months old. When he became a part of our family, we thought that we were years away from bringing kids into the home. We'd have plenty of time to raise a dog before little ones joined our lives. Let's get a high mainenance and energetic Dalmatian why don't we?!

In October of 2007, when Scrubs was about five months old, we found out about Isaac. Scratch that last paragraph. Suddenly we were going to have a baby and a young dog at the same time.

The thought of that terrified me. Scrubs put everything he could in his mouth. When he was a pup he swallowed socks whole -- proved when he later would upchuck them from his stomach whole. He was rambunctious and uncoordinated and only listened when the stars were perfectly aligned. How could I merge a tiny baby with a pup like Scrubs?

I honestly have no idea how it all came together the way it did. Everyone told me that dogs just "get it." They know who is in their pack and accept them and protect them. Scrubs is great with all kids, but he is especially good with Isaac and we are already seeing signs that he is going to be the same thing with Elijah. He is, honestly, better with children than he is with adults.

I don't know if any of the following had anything to do with it but here are some of the things we did in order to prepare our home for baby and dog:
  • Took Scrubs to training classes. We did puppy kindergarten, basic obedience, and an agility class before Isaac's arrival in May of 2008.

  • Exposed Scrubs to as many children as possible. I encouraged all my friends to bring their kids over and for those that felt comfortable with it, had Scrubs out and (attempting to be) gentle with the kids.
  • Went on tons of walks and allowed anyone who wanted to a pet session. We would walk by the bus stops so all the kids could maul him and smother him with love. Even today, I get stopped everytime I go on a walk by kids wanting to pet Scrubs. They've been stopping me on my runs too, and I just don't have the heart to say no even though stopping a run isn't easy to do.
  • Tugged on Scrubs' ears and tail often. Poked him in uncomfortable places. Got him used to the onslaught that would ultimately result with a toddler in the house.
  • Fed Scrubs' out of our hands. We actually did not use a dog bowl with him until he was about eight months old. We fed him out of our hands and out of kongs. Even today, I try to give him his dinner straight from me every week or so -- feeding him each piece of kibble one a time while he takes it from me gently. When kids come over, I give them a tupperware container filled with kibble that they can feed him one piece at a time. I think a soft mouth is a HUGE part of having kids in the house with a dog. You need to know that the dog will be gentle at all times. Isaac will actually put his whole arm into Scrubs' mouth, and while I don't like it, I know that there is no chance he would hurt Isaac in the process. It's a great comfort.
  • Tried to teach him "no lick" so he did not smother kids in slobber. This is still a daily battle.
  • Taught him "off". This may be easier for calmer dogs, but for Scrubs, if someone was on the floor, he instantly thought they were there to wrestle with him. We taught him that he can approach us when we are sitting on the floor if he lies down and crawls to us. But he cannot approach us by standing or jumping on us. Now, when he wants to approach Isaac, he often gets in a lying down position.
  • "Leave it" became a very important command. We taught Scrubs that he could not pick up anything off the floor unless we gave him permission. For instance, if we were to drop a steak on the floor in the kitchen, he doesn't move toward it until we tell him it is okay. This assures me (for the most part) that dropped child snacks will not be snagged by the dog unless permission is grants.
  • Scrubs was a huge thief. In fact I have been told that this is a traditional Dalmatian trait. Bitter yuck became our best friend. We sprayed it in his mouth every single time that he put something in his mouth that wasn't his. Clothes, stuffed animals, toys . . . if they weren't his, he got sprayed. It was the best thing we ever did. He very rarely messed with the boys' toys. (Although keeping Isaac away from Scrubs' toys is a whole 'nother story.)
  • We also curbed any possesion issues. When he was eating, we took his food from him or took his bones and toys from him while he was playing. He must wait for permission to eat and Isaac and I hang out by him when he eats sometimes and make him stop eating when we say. We taught him that he doesn't own anything. We own it and choose when he can play with it or eat it. To this day, Scrubs waits for the okay from us before he goes to eat his breakfast or dinner. I don't worry at all about him getting possessive over his food if one of the boys was to wander up on him. We noticed that he could get a little protective over bones with other people in the house. (He doesn't do this with us or the boys.) We have really limited rawhides because of this.

Well folks, I think that is all the secrets I have to success. I hope this helps a bit! Thanks again for the blog questions. They are very interesting. If anyone else has anyone kid/pet tips, bring 'em on!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First fort


Question: Why do they make the little scooper in formula the same color as the formula? Why yellow? Why not blue or red and black? Why not a color that stands out more at 5:30 in the morning at 10 o'clock at night? Who markets these products?

Another ponderance. Peanut Butter. These tall jars of peanut butter are a mistake if you ask me. It makes you not want to scrape the bottom of the jar in frustration of your whole hand being covered in peanut butter. We keep a jar of PB on the top of Scrubs' kennel and use it to coat treats before we leave. We are at the bottom of the jar and my hand is covered in it.

Why do kids like tupperware so much? JB baby-proofed the kitchen this week while he was home. (I don't think I included that on our accomplishment list.) He didn't baby proof the tupperware cabinet as Isaac loves to go in there. The good news is that I keep the lids on my tupperware so when he yanks them out I don't feel the need to wash them unless he manages to pry a lid off. But let's be honest folks. How many of you all stack your tupperware separate from your lids? I know when my mother and mother-in-law come in town they try to revolt against my system and do that separate stacking thing. No separate stacking for this family. I hate having to wade through to find the right lids. I'd rather take up a whole cupboard with already matched bottoms and lids that I can just yank out right when I need it. Who's with me on this?

Another ponderance. Well, this is a thank you actually. Thanks for all the advice regarding travelling with the two tykes. My great friend and teammate from WKU, Jaime, sent me the link for this machine: Conair Infant Sound Machine. It's small enough to actually, realistically, travel with, so I've bought one and am waiting for it's arrival to take on our trip. I'll let you all know how it works out, but Jaime swears by it and I trust her. The bad news is, I called the hotel to request two cribs, and they told me we couldn't fit two cribs in the room. Must be a small room. Unfortunately, this is New York. Way too pricey to get a second room. So we'll try to request a handicap room and probably have one or both kids sleep with us. Remember: JB and I always get two double beds so we can each get a kid!

Okay, ponderances aside, JB has left for his Sunday call (he gets off tomorrow morning), and I am venturing to church solo! Wish me luck!

I love my crib!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saying please

Add to our "done" list? Cleaning the carpets. Proved by this video.

But actually, I'm not putting up this video to show you how clean our carpets are now. I'm putting it up to show you Isaac doing the sign for "please." The sign is rubbing your belly, and he has just started doing it regularly. It is my hope that this belly rubbing will help him from having to cry to tell us he wants us something. He can just rub his belly instead!

The sign language book tells you in no uncertain terms not to ask your child to "perform" their signs. So I attempted to make it real world by offering him something he really wanted: the phone.

Take a look at that belly rub!

Also, I just read some great news on Becky's blog. If you haven't been over there check it out! They have five embryos growing. In addition, they were able to freeze some of Becky's eggs. This is something they wanted to attempt in my case as well, but were unable to accomplish. You can only attempt this in the case of a woman who has an excess number of eggs and is not desiring to fertilize them all. It is my hope that someday doctors are able to simply take eggs and freeze them in order to prevent the need for creating embryos that may go unused. This hasn't been done much since they haven't been able to achieve a very good thaw rate using eggs.

Please continue to pray for each of their little lives. Other than my own, I'm not sure I have ever quite wanted an IVF to work as badly as I want this for John and Becky. Let's flock Heaven with prayer for this couple and their embryos!

Chunkin' up

Things we accomplished this week

Here's just a sampling of some of the things we accomplished this week. I can't remember everything. I wouldn't call this a relaxing week but it sure was nice to dig ourselves out of a bit of a whole.

  • Spent one night in a hotel (sort of).
  • Both: Bought running shoes.
  • Both: Bought Isaac his first pair of shoes.
  • Both: Ran errands at Target.
  • Both: Ran errands at Pet store.
  • JB: Ran errands around town.
  • JB: Rigged double swing hung in backyard.
  • Both: Had the oil changed in the Saturn.
  • Both: Went out on a date on Thursday night. (Thanks Jodi!)
  • Both: Went on daily walks or jogs with the family.
  • Both: Sorted coins in our coin jar with money we've been collecting since before we got married.
  • JB: Went through JB's old comic books and baseball cards from high school to see if we could sell anything.
  • Both: Watched the second half of The Dark Knight. (I actually liked it.)
  • Wendi: Finished reading The Road. (Great book Tara and Rachel!)
  • Both: Changed approximately 80 diapers.
  • JB: Cleaned out our birdcage so we could put it on Craig'slist to sell.
  • JB: Completed lots of bills, insurance, banking stuff.
  • Wendi: Washed a bottle approximately 80 times.
  • Wendi: Used some gift certificates online to buy some necessary items.
  • Wendi: Went to lunch with the wifia at the park.
  • Both: Gave approximately 9 baths.
  • JB: Clipped the hedges.
  • Wendi: Went to lunch with Becky.

I wanted to end this post by giving a congratulations to some old high school friends. Michelle was in my brother's class in school and was on my volleyball team. She and I were really good friends. Anyways, she and her husband Chad were divorced a year ago today. However, today, my parents are attending a second wedding for the two of them as they get remarried and reunite their family which includes two small children. Congrats Chad and Michelle. God is such a great God to repair the broken! What a testimony your lives are to the rest of us.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Many of you gave me some great advice about bottles and how to keep them straight between the two boys.

In the end, I've opted to just "muddle through" until Isaac is weaned. He is already drinking out of a cup now and then so I am hoping this will happen soon. I already own all the ADVENT bottles I need and just didn't want to buy more in order to have different styles for both boys. It does create a lot of trickiness, but saving the money was worth it to me.

Isaac still gets a little upset if a bottle comes out for Elijah and not for him. I try to time it so Isaac gets to drink some when I feed Elijah. Or he has already eaten and just has no interest in more milk when Elijah's bottle comes out. Sometimes he just has to get upset for awhile if none of these options are possible. Cheerios helps greatly in the distraction process.

As we await complete weaning, I have six bottles for Isaac and six bottles for Elijah. I had smaller bottles for Elijah but then he decided he wanted six ounces to drink instead of four. Thus the bigger bottles like big brother's had to come out. The smaller ones only hold up to four ounces.

The nipples look exactly the same. But they aren't. Isaac's is a size 4. Elijah's is a size 1. The nipple size is very important as it determines how fast the liquid comes out.

Unfortunately, the ADVENT people didn't think seeing the number on the nipple was incredibly important. They designed it so the only way you can read the size is to hold the nipple up under bright light, spin in circles three times, and make a wish.

Okay, not exactly, but I think you get my point.

I tried to wash them in "groups" to prevent this intense nipple studying every time I washed bottles. But it just doesn't work that way. By mid morning, I usually have 5-7 bottles to wash. That's enough to get a load done and into the sanitizer (a Godsend might I add!) So I have decided to just wash, sanitize, and then study the nipples before putting Isaac's up on the left side of the counter and Elijah's on the right.

If they go into the fridge because they weren't finished, Isaac's go on the second shelf and Elijah's on the first. JB started to tell me that this was backwards, but I told him that it was already imprinted into my brain, and he was going to have to adjust. I think he could tell by looking at my face how serious I was about my new system and so he fell into line without questioning any further.

But I did want to thank everyone for the input! It's so great to know that I have a village behind me as I raise my boys.

I'm going to get you!

Isaac doesn't "quite" get running away from us yet ... here's me trying to teach him.

Requesting Prayer

Please join with me in lifting up our great friends John and Becky in prayer as Becky is going in for an IVF harvest today. Needless to say this is probably all I will be thinking about all day today!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In the pack

We long ago knew that Scrubs had accepted Isaac into our pack, but while he has been kind to Elijah, we hadn't yet, until today, seen the same protection mechanisms kicking into gear. This morning, however, Scrubby let us know that Elijah is welcome as well and that he plans to take just as good of care of him as he does Isaac.

Little E.

A few pics of our little cutie pie

In case you wanted to know

Elijah is able to pee nearly halfway across the room.

Just thought you all would like to know this. I try to avoid talk of bodily functions on the blog, but I just have to share this one. I've had baby boys in my house for nearly a year now but this is the first time I ever saw anything like this.

I had a friend give me a pack of "pee-pee tepees" -- little cones you can use for protection. I didn't see the need to use them previously.

I now see the need.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today . . .

... Elijah took a nap on the couch. He actually fell asleep on me, but I had to roll him off when Isaac woke up from his nap.

... Daddy rigged a double swing system in the backyard. How cool is this?!

... Mommy got to go to the park with just Isaac to meet all the gals for lunch.

... I put just my feet in the water. It's still too cold for me.

... Got to hold Moriah! Isn't she a cutie?!

... We tried out Isaac's new shoes. Doesn't he look grown up?

... Isaac flirted with Jodi.

... Joia got her picture taken for once!

... the kids played in the water.

... the gals posed for a picture.

... Joia helped me get a picture of me and my oldest boy.

It was a wonderful day at home. We are using JB's vacation to, well, put him to work. Put both of us to work. We are doing spring cleaning, cooking out on the grill, going on daily jogs, and accomplishing projects around the house that have been put off for too long. I am also enjoying the opportunity to spend quality time with each of my boys as there is an extra set of hands to help around the house. Elijah and I took a snooze on the couch together and we spent some time "talking" together. Isaac and I went to the park together. We are looking forward to a few more days of together time before JB returns to work with a call day on Sunday.
Click here to jump to Joia's rendition of the day.

Sometimes it's hard

*** This is a post on motherhood that may be a little sensitive to anyone struggling with infertility. Feel free to skip! ***

So I have a confession to make.

Someone once asked me after Isaac was born if my life had been just totally turned upside down.
My answer? No. Not really. Isaac was such a chill kid. We took him everywhere with us. I honestly didn't feel that bringing him home was any more difficult than the day our (not so) little pup joined our family. Just a new adventure. But not life changing. I know not all newborn parents feel that way. But for us, that was the case. I wasn't recovering from a pregnancy or delivery, he was sleeping through the night . . . life was different but not completely altering.

No one has asked me recently if my life has been just totally turned upside down by bringing Elijah home.

But I've decided to answer the question anyway.

Yes. It has. Completely. While Elijah has been more challenging than Isaac was as a baby (which seems to have improved since we are feeding him more now!), it isn't Elijah that is difficult for me. It is having two that is more difficult and life changing.

I cannot say that their closeness in age is the reason that it is harder. I don't have anything to compare them to. Maybe having kids four or three or two years apart is exactly the same or even harder than this. I really don't know.

Either way, having a second at home has been life changing. That I do know.

JB has been home with me the last few days. We sat down on the couch after putting Isaac to bed and flipped on American Idol. JB was eating dinner and I was feeding Elijah. He told me that he felt like a day with both boys was equivalent to one of his busy rotation days. Just a day that you don't really have a chance to sit for a moment. Just the type of day that leaves you falling asleep sitting up at the end of it.

I do well throughout the day but at about 5:30-6:00pm, I start falling out, exhausted, and start having dreams about getting to crawl in my bed. When I do get into my bed right after I feed Elijah his last bottle of the night, usually around 9:30-10:00, I fall asleep in mere seconds. No tossing and turning for this chick.

I told JB I feel that when he is working, he gets my "scraps" at the end of the day. By the time he comes home, I have hit that exhaustion point. I don't quite feel like talking or hanging out together. I just feel like going to sleep.

Between diapers and feedings and changing clothes and putting a babe up or down from a nap and washing bottles and doing laundry and picking up and playing with the boys and letting Scrubs in and out and going for a jog, my day is completely jam-packed. If I add an "outing", it is then stuffed.

The hardest job I have ever done? Honestly? No. Teaching and coaching in Franklin during sports seasons definitely rivaled this. They were 70-80 weeks away from home. When sports weren't in season, the job got immensely easier, but during season, I remember feeling that same sort of fatigue.

But this is still not easy. I don't feel good at it. And sometimes, it is hard.

I need to admit that.

I'm not sure exactly why I haven't said this on my blog before now. I've always allowed my blog to be a place that I express my heart exactly and honestly. I haven't hid it. But I haven't really mentioned it either.

For some reason admitting that anything related to motherhood is difficult or challenging is hard for me right now. It isn't that I want to appear I am a super mom. I have no problem at all admitting that I am not a super mom. I don't see myself as one and don't feel that I am one. I am perfectly fine admitting that I need help or don't know how to do something. I see other moms and think, "Now that is a supermom."

However, I do have a fear of ever sounding like I am complaining about being a mom or having my two boys. I love them so incredibly much. I would never change where we are now for anything in the world. I never, ever, ever, want to sound ungrateful for the amazing blessing that has been bestowed on our lives.

I can remember when I was going through infertility. I remember hearing moms say it was hard. I agreed with them. I had done enough babysitting of multiple children to know it was hard. But I also knew I didn't care. I wanted that sooooo bad.

And now that I have it, I hesitate to mention the hard stuff because I don't want to sound unappreciative -- ever. I am so amazingly appreciate. I am so amazingly happy I am here.

But it is hard.

And you know what, my failure to admit that isn't fair to other moms or to moms-to-be. I need to be honest or people won't get the right picture.

I've been blessed with a few friends that I have really been able to share my heart with. They have encouraged me to go ahead and talk about some of the hard stuff. At MOPS the other day, moms went around discussing some of the good, bad, and in between stuff. Very helpful!

I got an email from a good friend the other day. She was talking about having two kids and admitted to me that it is quite exhausting. I echoed her sentiment and confessed my fear of not ever admitting that this was a little hard sometimes because I feared sounding ungrateful.

She wrote me back a very powerful email. I wanted to share just a portion of it, since her words were what encouraged me to write this blog.

Everyone who reads your blog knows the immense struggle you faced with infertility and then the immense joy you experienced through adoption and conception...BUT we also understand the immense time commitment of the daily feedings, diaper changes, naps, walks, and just pure chaos. Everyone likes the honesty of your blog, and other Moms would probably like you admitting.."No. I am not super mom!" because you always seem to have it so together.

When I read her last sentence, that I seemed to have it altogether, I knew I needed to set the record straight. I do not have it altogether. Oh my! Woah is that far from the truth. Things are chaotic and challenging and demanding and wonderful all rolled into one. I want to make sure everyone knows that. I never want to appear to be something I am not.

So I am saying it. I have to remind myself of the difference between admitting something is hard and complaining about it. I have to keep my mind clear that saying my day is chaotic or challenging is not saying I want to give back my boys or I wish they weren't here. They are amazing. They are an incredible blessing. I wouldn't change them for anything. I can admit that motherhood is hard just like I can admit coaching and teaching were hard. That doesn't admit I don't love what I do. I love it.

Even though it is sometimes hard.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chubba-Chubba #2

Well folks, Elijah is officially a chubba-chubba just like big brother.

Okay so maybe that is a bit extreme, but he did manage to gain 22 ounces in one week! A week ago he weighed 11.1 pounds. Today he weighed 12.7!

To put this in perspective, Elijah had only managed to go from 8.14 to 11.1 in nearly 2.5 months. That's just 19 ounces. When we did his last weight check while still breast feeding, he had gained 4 ounces in 2 weeks. This time he had gained 22 ounces in just one week.

Normally babies gain about one half to one ounce a day. Elijah gained nearly three ounces a day on his new food source. Most babies his age are also eating less than 30 ounces a day. He is eating nearly 42 as he makes up for lost time. This jump in weight today moved him from the 4th percentile up into the 25th or so. Much better.

Praise the Lord for modern medicine and the ability to give our little boy something else to eat. People in some places in the world don't have either of these luxuries, and I am not taking either of them for granted. Little brother is obviously doing much better and on track to be quite healthy now that we figured out that the combo of him and I just wasn't a successful match in the food department.

To be quite honest, I feel like I have bonded with him more this last week than I had in the previous nine. I think a big part of this is that neither he nor I are frustrated anymore. I can sit and talk to him while I feed him and we now have a great working relationship. He is ending each meal satisfied!

Thank you everyone for your prayers. We'll go back in another week just to make sure this trend is continuing but for now, great news!

Weigh in

We have an appointment for Elijah this afternoon to see if he is gaining better weight. Please pray that everything looks great when we go in today. I will post as soon as we know. John thinks we are going to get a good report. We both think his cheeks definitely look chubbier!

As for me, I am honestly in completely heaven right now. I am cleaning my house with only baby Elijah here. And he is sleeping soundly in his swing. JB and Isaac went to run some errands and pick up Scrubs from the doggy daycare. I am walking from room to room without shutting doors to keep Isaac and Scrubs out. I am throwing laundry anywhere I want. It is awesome!

However, to be quite honest, both JB and I admitted that it felt very strange to be at home last night without Scrubs here to drive us crazy and rub his wet nose on our legs! He definitely is a part of our family and we do have to admit we miss him.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Points for trying

Isaac giving me Elijah's bottle. Isaac thought the hotel room was the greatest toy ever. Pads of paper, windows, air conditioners, ironing boards . . . so many new things to run back and forth in between.

I wanted to get a picture of this cute onesie -- by the time I got around to it, we had already done some burping damage! The cloth under his head is my feeble attempt to get him to face left instead of right in order to help with his uneven head shape. You can see how well it worked.

The hotel had a crib and we bought a pack-n-play. We moved them into different parts of the room for the night but it still didn't help generate sleep much.

Elijah pouting on the bed.

The pictures above are about all I took during our weekend away.

Scratch that. Instead of "weekend' I should say "night."

We left on Sunday morning and planned to return to our house on Tuesday morning. However, one night in the hotel was plenty for us and for the boys. By Monday at 3:00pm, we were back on Base, anxious for everyone to sleep in their own beds.

Our practice run for the wedding in New York City went well during daylight hours. We managed to get Isaac to take a nap with us in the room, we went to two nice restaurants (Carabbas and P.F. Changs) and both boys were on their best behavior, we did some shopping at the outlets, played on the beach, ran some errands . . .

But the night time was another story. Isaac still wasn't feeling great. That meant that from about 9pm until 6am, room #406 was going something like this:

Isaac: Starts coughing in his sleep.
Elijah: Wakes up due to big brother's coughing.
Isaac: Stops coughing.
Elijah: Starts crying.
Isaac: Wakes up.
Daddy: Goes to get Isaac to calm him down.
Mommy: Goes to get Elijah to feed him.
Daddy: Puts Isaac back in his crib.
Mommy: Finishes feeding Elijah. Puts him back in his bed.
Isaac: Starts coughing in his sleep.

And . . . repeat. Over and over again. Neither JB nor myself slept for more than about 30-60 minutes at a time before the coughing began, little brother awoke, and things started spiraling out of control.

I honestly resorted to begging and making deals with God. "Please God, just let Elijah sleep through the coughing. If he does, I promise I'll . . ."

Needless to say it was a very long night for everyone involved. If we were in New York for the wedding, we would have just had to deal with it. However, we weren't. We were forty-five minutes from our house, and we knew it. Neither of us had to convince the other come daylight that we shouldn't try to do two nights in a row.

JB rolled over at about 6:15am and pulled his head out from under a pillow and said, "So, I don't really want to stay another night!"

Wendi couldn't agree fast enough.

I remember Joia telling me that on one of their trips with Keenan they got a handicapped room so they could put his pack-n-play in the bathroom. I thought this was a great idea. Only problem for me is that I use the bathroom a lot during the night -- usually 2-3 times. Not sure that would work for us.

Just wondering if anyone has any other ideas about how to put two tykes in one room together for our trip. Hopefully, there won't be any coughing spells and things will go more smoothly. But in the end, any noise from one baby will send the other one into a fit of crying. How do we avoid that? At home, both our boys sleep through the night almost every night without getting up. However, they are still in separate rooms. Isaac is in the nursery and we have a little pack-n-play set-up for Elijah in the guest room that we can pull into our room when guests are here. Eventually I'd like both boys to sleep in the same room, but I recognize that may take a long time.

We felt like we did a good job packing for the weekend away -- keeping "things" to a minimum, only taking the necessities, etc. However, we aren't sure what our strategy will be to visit New York City without staying awake for three days. We are open to anyone and every one's advice. So bring it on!

P.S. Scrubs is still down at the little "doggy daycare" kennel in Santa Rosa Beach. I called the lady who runs it and she said Scrubs was having a fantastic time. "Although, I'll have to give him a bath before you pick him up," she said. No surprise there. Scrubs loves to roll when playing with other dogs. We decided to let him stay until tomorrow morning and pick him up then.

Elijah's girlfriends

Well, JB and I are probably still in Destin. But here is a post I set to upload before I left!


Elijah is so lucky! He is surrounded by such beautiful women. Saturday at the beach, I managed to snag just one photo in the short time we were there -- it's Chloe (Eric and Andrea's daughter) hanging out with her boyfriend Elijah. How sweet are they?

Of course Elijah wanted me to make sure that I reminded everyone he is not currently dating Chloe exclusively. Here he is with Moriah (Philip and Joia's little girl) back in February.

I also snagged a video while we were at the beach. It's quite windy but shows off our gorgeous white sand beaches! I also talk about my Minnesota friends briefly! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Some videos

Well we did go to the beach yesterday but didn't stay long due to the not-so-nice-weather as well as a not-so-in-a-good-mood-Isaac. Our church was having a big bbq that I really wanted to go to, but Isaac really needed a nap. While Isaac napped, I laid down on my bed with Elijah, and JB came and took him out and left me sleeping there. It was wonderful! I slept for two full hours in the middle of the day. It felt so good. What an awesome husband I have. He also made me a fantastic steak dinner with brussel sprouts, salad, and some sort of broccoli/cauliflower vegetable I have only had like one other time in my life. Delicious! We did have to eat in shifts, due to a hungry Elijah, but it was still wonderful.

We are off to Destin now. We are excited to spend a weekend at a nice hotel on the beach. We also plan to run a lot of errands that are on that side of town anyway. We are also considering this a "practice run" for the wedding we are attending in New York City next month. We want to make sure we know exactly what we need for a week away with two little boys.

I have some posts set to automatically upload over the next two days so you'll still be hearing from me -- just not the real-time me.

As we leave, I leave you with a couple of recent videos. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tristan stops by & vacation begins

Micah, Shannon, Zach, Tristan, and Nathan in Turkey

During our first year here at Eglin, we became good friends with one of the third year residents. Tristan and his wife Shannon (and their three boys: Zach, Micah, and Nathan). After our first year, they were stationed in Turkey. This was my first glimpse of how fleeting relationships are in the military. People move so much! I am really starting to feel that now with another big moving season upon us (Becky, Bobby, and Brittany are at the top of the move list . . . but that's another blog in itself.)

Anyways, Tristan and his family are in the states for a few weeks, and Tristan popped over to Eglin to attend the residency retreat while Shannon and the boys remained in Savannah with family. All of the docs met in San Destin (about an hour from here) all day yesterday and half the day today to talk about their program and evaluate things. Tristan stayed with us. I picked him up from the airport yesterday morning and then last night we had the opportunity to sit and talk about Turkey, the Lord, family, our journey to parenthood, their handful of boys, everything. It was great!

JB and I are really thinking we would like to try to go overseas next summer when it is time to leave Eglin. Many people have asked me how this works. Each resident gets a 20 location "dream list." You rank the places you would like to go in the order you would like to go there. We plan to rank a lot of overseas locations very high in hopes we get the opportunity to go overseas. However, ultimately, we know that where we go is totally in the Lord's hands, and I am completely at peace with wherever that might be -- even if I end up back in the Polar North somewhere! (There's a base in North Dakota -- egads!) Sometime around July of 2010, we will be moving. We won't know where that is until March of next year. Either way, it was very enlightening to talk to Tristan and get some ideas about what the future holds next summer when we are sent to another location for 2-4 years.

Many of the residents went out for dinner with fellow residents and their families yesterday. Tristan went out with a bunch of guys as well. JB opted to come home. It's been an exhausting week for both of us with Isaac being sick, JB working long hours, and all the feeding changes with Elijah so we ultimately decided to just spend some family together here.

Also, in honor of the kick off of JB's vacation, we have a free weekend to use at a hotel in Destin that we earned by attending some timeshare mumbo jumbo about a year ago. (Sidenote: I do not recommend ever attending one of these mumbo jumbos no matter what they offer you. They are incredibly painful. If they tell you it is not a "hard sell" they are lying. It always is. And you have to say no like 5,000 times before you get out of there with your free prize.) Anyways, we have a hotel booked in Destin for the weekend -- Sunday night and Monday night. So if you don't see any blogs, that's why. We aren't sure what we are going to do exactly -- but relax and be a family on the beach are our top priorities. We are dropping Scrubs off tomorrow at this great play-day-kennel I found in Santa Rosa Beach. I know he'll have a great time and won't care at all that we are gone for the weekend.

As for today, all the families are meeting at the beach around lunchtime so I'll be connecting with JB sometime in the afternoon. I am doing a really good job getting out of the house with both boys. I really have it down to a science and even ventured to the grocery store by myself the other day. It was a little difficult to fit any groceries in my cart around Elijah's carseat, but I was still proud to say that I had done it.

Have a sunny weekend everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2009

You gotta see this!

If you haven't seen this video on youtube featuring the gal from Britain's Got Talent, click here. It's fantastic.

Summer fun

We took these photos on Sunday, but I am just getting around to posting them. We bought a little pool for Isaac. It was cheap and had a shade (a must by JB's standards) and was a real good time. The only problem was that with the shade on, the water stayed pretty cold! Isaac didn't seem to mind (but I did!) We'll have to wait until it gets a little bit warmer before Mommy gets in that thing again.

I'll have to upload two photos because we didn't get one photo where both of us were looking at the camera. I also love the second picture because little Scrubby is popping in to get in the action again. We have the nosiest dog in the whole world!

In other news . . .

Life in our household has been a little crazy this week. Isaac has come down with some sort of bug ... again. Poor little guy has been sick quite a bit in the last few weeks. He had a fever of 103 the other morning and has a runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. We brought him up to see Dr. G. on Thursday, and there is nothing to do for him other than watch him for now. When Isaac is sick, he wakes up a lot in the night. JB usually gives him some more Tylenol and Motrin and then sits with him for awhile while Isaac calms back down. I guess it's nice that Elijah is sleeping through the night now so we are only getting up with one little guy.

JB has also been working very late hours on the family medicine team. He is rarely home before 7pm which is a very long day for both of us. The good news is that he has a week of vacation starting on Monday! A week of vacation with plans to do nothing! I think that is the best vacation of all.

I want to thank all of you for the encouragement you provided me with regarding Elijah and his feeding. It was an emotional week as we adjusted to new ways of feeding. We have started him on bottles -- half breast milk and half formula. The kid is taking them down like crazy! Normally babies his age are eating no more than 30 ounces a day. He's been doing 36 ounces without blinking an eye! I asked Dr. G. if this was okay, and she said to let him eat as much as he wants for awhile. He's catching up.

The change in Elijah after we realized he wasn't getting adequate nutrition was amazing to say the least. Prior to switching to the bottle, our normal routine was to eat an hour and then play for about 10-15 minutes before he started getting fussy. At that point, I had assumed he was tired and would work to help him fall asleep ... which never came easy. Then in about sixty minutes, I would feed him again. In hindsight I realize now that he was actually hungry not tired. Poor little guy.

I seriously just thought he was a little more of an "unsettled" baby. Isaac was soooo chill all the time, and everyone told me that all babies aren't like that. So I figured I just had one that was a little bit more un-chill. Well now that he is eating, he is so much more at peace. He is giggling and cooing and smiling ... all things that he was not doing very much of prior to the increase in food. He is like an entirely different kid.

I spent the day after Dr. G. told us to start supplementing, crying. I felt like a horrible mother. My son was hungry, every day, and I didn't know it. I am still dealing with a bit of guilt, but I was doing the best I could, and that's all I could do. Either way, we have him on a much better track now, and he's truly coming out of his little baby shell in such a fun way! I really want to thank all of you who encouraged me during these few days. I really needed it. I so appreciate all the love and support from so many of you.

Ugh! Both babies just woke up at the same time. Gotta go!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So I was tagged by Becky way back at the beginning of April for an "honest tag". I've been meaning to respond but just haven't had a chance. Then today I saw Joia was responding to an "honest tag" as well and it reminded me about my need to respond to Becky's tag.

So here I am. I'm supposed to list ten honest things about myself. Quite honestly, I can't really think of a lot of things that I haven't already told everyone who reads my blog. I sort of tell it like it is and talk a lot and write a lot so it all gets put out there. So I thought I would instead list my similarities with Becky and Joia's honesty. A little bit of a twist. But I think that's okay. You'd have to go and read Becky and Joia's posts to see what I am responding to so click on the links above if you are interested. Okay, let me just get started.

Here are my similiarities to Becky's post:

1. When JB goes on a trip, I eat lots of processed foods. Macaroni and cheese, pizzas, anything that I can whip up in the microwave in about ten minutes. I also eat cereal and pancakes for dinner on many occasions.

2. I do not like it all when JB is not in the house with me overnight. However, living on base and having Scrubs has chilled me out considerably in this regard. I have, however, slept with my bedroom door locked in the past, but when we look for a house in any place we live, the top of my priorities is that I will feel safe when he is gone. The condo on the second floor in Minnesota was very helpful with that. Our townhouse on the border of some woods in Kentucky was not.

3. I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am not sure where I consider "home". I loved our little duplex in Kentucky where we lived across the street from Josh and Sarah. I also loved our condo in Minnesota (which we still own and are renting out.) But home seems to be wherever we are right now.

4. I have no real desire to dance in anyway. Especially not to square dance. If I were little and petite and not a pile of arms and legs, I think I would love it, but I just know that no matter how well I was trained, I'd be incredibly lanky and long and it just wouldn't look right. Every gal on Dancing with the Stars that has been tall looks horrible.

5. I am not a perfectionist. I am perfectly fine with B work. When JB decided he didn't want to go to a barber every third week to get his haircut, he asked me if I could learn how to do it to save us money. I said yes but said he should remember that B work is okay for me. He decided to teach himself instead.

6. I am the oldest of two siblings: just me and my brother Keith. However, I married into a family that has six kids so I feel like I have gotten my big family fix. I had a foster brother, John, when I was little.

8. When I was a kid, someone started a rumor that my real name was Gwendolyn. I couldn't convince people that it was untrue, especially after my dad, who worked at the school, fueled the rumor by telling everyone it was true!

9. Scrubs is my first real pet, and I, like, Becky, know my heart would hurt greatly if anything happened to him. He is a major part of our family.

10. I don't think I fidget a lot, but I don't sit or lay in one place for very long. Is that fidgeting?

Okay, now I'll jump to Joia's for comparison:

1. I am addicted to water. I crave it. I could easily only drink water for the rest of my life.

2. I loathe cockroaches. Any other bug I can handle but those thing make me want to crawl out of my skin. JB, honestly, feels the same way, despite his incredible love of nature.

3. I would like to go to any sporting event that I could think of except for a monster truck show. Or a car race either. Neither of those interest me at all. However, if given a free ticket and someone who could explain it to me while we were there, I'd go.

4. I do like hot dogs but as for kid food, I prefer macaroni.

5. I am not a spender. JB is definitely the spender in our family.

6. I have never eaten an entire large pizza by myself. I think, if pressed, I could possibly eat 2/3 of a pizza, but I really don't think I could possibly eat a whole pizza. Joia, this is impressive.

7. Joia wrote: If it weren't for my husband's (good) influence on me, I would lay out in the sun all the time and be tanned golden all year round... sigh. =) Joia, I am soooooooooo with you on this. I mean like really, really with you. I love to be tan. I had a pre-melanoma removed at 20, however, and it kinda freaked me out, but if I could, I would be majorly brown.

8. In Minnesota, I need chap stick with me everywhere I went, but here, I don't need it very often.

9. I like country music too. The truth though was that when I went to college, I loathed it, but rooming with Kristi and living one hour of Nashville, I quickly realized that if I didn't start liking it, I would be miserable for my entire stay in the south. So I embraced. No I loveeee it.

10. I do not have an extra tooth or any extra body parts at all that I am aware of.

All right folks. There's some honestly for you this morning. I also want to wish a quick happy birthday to my cousin Jason, my cousin Justin, my goddaughter Grace, and to remember Bri's brother Brant, who passed away many years ago. This was his birthday as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's ironic that I spent yesterday typing and posting a blog on bonding. Ironic that one of the topics I spent the most time talking about was breastfeeding. Ironic because that issue was the at the forefront of my mind yesterday.

After MOPS on Monday morning, JB asked me to stop by the hospital with the boys. We were already out so it sounded fine to me. He was a little concerned about Elijah's head and how it was a bit molded on one side, and he wanted Dr. G. to take a look at it. Dr. G. agreed with JB's diagnosis and echoed the fancy name he gave it. They both agreed that we should see a physical therapist to get some ideas for encouraging Elijah to look to his left. The reason for the unevenness is that he is always leaning to his right. She told me that this was a very minor issue and not to worry myself about it. All right. That's my plan. No worries.

Dr. G. also suggested we weigh little brother. So we did. In two weeks he had barely gained four ounces. Not so good. So she brought me to a room, had me feed Elijah, and then reweighed him. After one hour of feeding (a pretty typical length), he had only gained two ounces. These scales are pretty sensitive meaning we all could be pretty sure he only got two ounces during that feed.

JB did some figuring, and we realized that Elijah has probably only been eating about one-half to one-third what he should be everyday. No wonder the little guy cries a lot and wants to eat non-stop. I had gotten to a point that I just thought he was an "unsettled" baby. He would eat, have about fifteen minutes of happy time, and then cry himself to sleep before waking up 60-90 minutes later to eat again. I'm no mom professional so I accepted that this was just his style. And truly, I was fine with it. But it was difficult to go anywhere when he wanted to feed every two hours and fed for one hour every time he fed. I only had sixty minutes before it was time to get started again, and when it was time to get started, I had to be somewhere that I could let Isaac safely play. It was a bit tricky.

It was Dr. G.'s opinion that our skinny little guy just doesn't suck very well at the breast. When I pump, I easily get 5-9 ounces per pumping. But he is probably only getting a quarter of that. We talked at length and then JB and I talked at length and we decided to go to the bottle. I am still going to pump about three times a day and my goal is to be able to give him half breast milk and half formula -- at least for awhile. We'll see how that goes. I'd love to give him all breast milk, but I am just not sure I can get enough to do that.

After three bottles yesterday and two bottles today, the change in E. is amazing. I am able to hold him and talk to him. He is smiling and cooing. He napped hard instead of waking up every few minutes to have his pacifier reset. Normally I have to get him propped in the swing or sit him in his bouncy seat and get his pacifier propped perfectly in order to have him calm down. Sometimes I can get him to calm if he is swaddled. But he just always seemed a little unhappy. And now I know why. The poor guy was starving!

I got a bit emotional yesterday. I felt so badly that Elijah has been struggling with hunger, and I didn't know it. However, JB told me to "snap out of it" and "get over it." (In a nice way of course.) In the end, this is why we take our kids to the doctor and get them weighed. We monitor their growth and make changes when we need to. It is in Elijah's best interest to get supplemental feedings and go to the bottle. In the end, his health is all that matters.

So, for my whole post on bonding yesterday, and my expression that I would be fine if I went to bottle feeding, there it is. In the end, I'm glad it really wasn't my choice. I'm glad that someone told me what we needed to do. And I'm glad I know that I won't struggle bonding with Elijah just because he is drinking out of a bottle.

Now to a strategy for helping Isaac realize that Elijah's bottles are not his! He is getting quite upset when he sees one come out and it goes to little brother. Hmmm . . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I recently had another blog request. Here it is:

So, I think you have done a perfect job describing your feelings about adoption and how you used to wonder if you would love it as much as a biological child and that now, after doing it, the answer is a resounding "YES." However, I was just wondering if you feel like the adoption/biological issue has affected your "bond" with the boys.

For example, has carrying Elijah/breastfeeding made you "bond" more with him than you did with Isaac...not "love more" but "bond more?" And what about Isaac's relationship with John? He clearly is attached to him. Do you think Elijah will "bond" as quickly with John as Isaac did, considering that John played such an active role in Isaac's feedings and is limited with Elijah, and so on? Once again, I think the love issue is clear. Just wondering your thoughts on this...

And if it's too personal, you, of course, don't have to blog about it. Just something interesting I thought about as I was reading your blog....

All right, so here is my response. I did touch on this in a previous post. You can read it by clicking here. I write this post to help anyone considering adoption to have the whole picture. Here it is. As best I can paint it.


As I write this, my little Isaac just celebrated his eleventh month on this earth. He is currently taking a nap. Well, he's supposed to be. The noise on the monitor indicates he is doing more playing than sleeping. He talks to himself a lot lately. I have no idea what he is saying, but gosh is it cute. He is walking all over the place. He thinks JB is way cooler than Mom. He thinks Scrubs was put on this earth to be Isaac's personal playground and best buddy. He loves fruit. He hates green beans. He puts toys between his legs while I am trying to change his diaper. He loves music. He just started giving hugs and kisses.

As I write this, my little Elijah is nearing his third month on this earth. He is in his swing, staring at me, debating whether he wants to smile, sleep, and cry. I am hoping he chooses the middle option so I can move to the couch for my own nap. He has just started to develop a social smile. He is crying less. Sleeping more. He loves to be held. He loves his pacifier. He is currently infatuated with fans and lights and anything on the ceiling. One side of his head is flatter than the other because he keeps leaning to his right.

These two boys are an incredible gift. They are incredible blessings. I can speak with complete honestly when I say that I love these children with identical love. Both of them have a permanent notch in my heart. I do not look at them and see any difference between them. They are both my boys.

What is bonding anyway? It is defined as: a close personal relationship that forms between people. But how do you know when that occurs and how fast it occurs and when it completely occurs? It's a fairly abstract thought when you really think about it.

Isaac's arrival

We got the call that Isaac was on his way into our lives at around 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. May 7, 2008. His due date. And ironically, the birth date of his birth mom, Bri. By 3:00pm we were on the road and by 9:00pm, Bri was on the cell phone telling us "You have a son." We were still somewhere near Orlando, and it would be well after midnight before we first had the opportunity to see our little boy.

I cried when I held Isaac for the first time. It was a moment I cannot put into words. It truly was an out-of-body experience. I knew what was happening, but what was happening did not feel real. I knew that, supposedly, this tiny little baby was supposed to be our's. But I also knew that Bri had 48 hours to change her mind without any questions asked. I knew that the nurses were keeping a very tight eye on us as we didn't have one of the "magic bracelets" you were supposed to have to be in the nursery with the babies. I felt like you do when you are a little kid and you want to hang out in a group but aren't quite welcome. He was going to be our son. But he wasn't our son yet. We'd spend all day Thursday waiting for the okay from our lawyer to bring our family up to meet our little boy.

But that first moment. That first moment was incredibly powerful. I knew that I could love this little boy. I don't think I loved him yet. But somehow I knew I would.

I didn't hold Isaac a lot those first few days. There were a lot of other family members who wanted to meet him ... wanted to hold him ... wanted to love him. I did not feel an immediate attachment to this little boy and I have to admit that worried me. I felt that people were watching, wanting to see how I would react to him. But I wasn't sure how I felt. Did he really belong to us? It just didn't feel real. Bri was like a sister to me. I couldn't help but think about her and how she was doing and if she was sad. Those feelings were more powerful than my feelings about Isaac in the beginning.

While technically that first 48 was what we were waiting to see pass, there was still a part of me that worried someone was going to wake me up from this dream for weeks and months to follow. In hindsight, I think that I protected my heart a bit, worried that something would happen. But after awhile, I knew he was here forever, and I gave myself complete permission to fall in love.

Elijah's arrival

Eight and a half months later I was being wheeled out of the operating room after my c-section desperately wanting to meet our newest family member. As I held Elijah for just a few moments, I remember a whirlwind of emotions. And as I look back now, those emotions mirrored my feelings about Isaac. Here he was. He was my son. But it didn't feel real. I knew I would love him, but I didn't feel an incredible amount of love instantly. (Granted, I was pretty doped up and in a lot of pain. I am sure that contributed.)

Some mothers will tell you that that the moment that they held their child, an incredible bond of love was formed. I think that is awesome. Truly. And I completely believe that for many women that is how it is. But that wasn't the case for me with either of my sons. Both with Isaac and Elijah, I loved them, I cared about them, but my infatuation for them was slow growing.

I think there was some protection in my love for Elijah as well. Even though I watched myself grow as a pregnant woman, I really felt that Eiljah couldn't actually be real. Could we actually have a child? Could this really happen?

Bonding with the boys

For me, my trip to Minnesota for Hans and Rachel's wedding, was the beginning of my true bonding experience with Isaac. That was when he was just six weeks old. It was on that trip that I started to really feel like his Mom. I started to feel my heart swell when I thought about him. I started to truly fall in love with him. Once I started falling, I fell hard. He was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing at night.

As for Elijah, I started feeling that incredible love for him in the last few weeks -- nearly an identical amount of time to his big brother. I think, for whatever reason, that it just takes me a bit to feel like a real Mom. I think it takes them smiling back at me before I really start to have that deep sense of bonding with my children. I truly believe that any child that joins my family will take me a similar amount of time whether they join us from my womb or from the womb of another mother. Whether he is a newborn or a teenager. I am not sure if that is a protection mechanism from the years of infertility disappointments or just how I would react no matter what.

I bottle fed Isaac. I am breastfeeding Elijah. I am being very honest when I tell you that I do not feel that breastfeeding has bonded me to Elijah faster whatsoever. Breastfeeding is not easy. You are trying to get the position correct. You are trying to get them to latch on. You are trying to not have them lie against your c-section incision. You are worried about how much they are getting. Once you get all that down, you are able to start enjoying the time you can spend with your baby. But for me, that time is usually time that I am giving Isaac cheerios or catching up with JB after a long day. It isn't necessarily this surreal bonding time.

I loved bottle feeding Isaac. It was easy. I knew how much he was getting. He took the bottle without a problem. The positioning was easy. There was no latching required. If anything, I felt that bottle feeding allowed for easier bonding. I could sit and enjoy the baby instead of worrying about getting everything just right.

If tomorrow, I was told I needed to start bottle feeding Elijah, I would be perfectly fine with that notion (other than the expense of formula and the fact that breastfeeding is healthier.) I sometimes wish that I was bottle feeding Elijah. Whole books have been written about the bonding that is created by breastfeeding. I'm sorry but I just really don't buy it. I feel as close to Isaac as I possibly can. I love to sit and hold his bottle and play with his little toes and kiss his forehead. We have bonded wonderfully without breastfeeding.

Here's another little bit of truth. They say that you, as a mother, react to your baby and your milk will begin to flow when you see your little one. It doesn't happen right away necessarily, but as you begin to bond to your little one, it happens more and more. The first time that I actually felt my milk "come in" was not when I held Elijah. It was when I was holding Isaac. I went in to see him after his surgery and scooped him into my arms and finally knew what the labor and delivery nurses were talking about. I actually love that this happened this way. It was complete proof to me that I was bonded to big brother.

In addition, I did not feel that being pregnant helped me to bond more with Elijah. I could feel him and I knew he was there, but there was something so "unreal" about the fact that I was actually pregnant! I was waiting a full pregnancy to meet him, and I waited a full pregnancy to meet Isaac too. I think there was probably a bit more of "this is really my son" when Elijah was born since he came from my womb and there wasn't a lawyer that needed to be involved. But we had waited, in different ways, equally long for both of these boys and the experience felt nearly identical.

Fatherhood and feeding

And then there is the father's role in feeding. JB will be the first to tell you that he bonded with Isaac much faster than he did with Elijah. Even now, two and a half months after Elijah joined us, JB is still probably more bonded with Isaac. He attachment to Elijah is growing, but much slower. When Isaac was born, JB was helping to do everything. He got to feed him nearly as much as I did.

That wasn't the case with Elijah. With Elijah, I was the one feeding him while JB tended to big brother. I was feeding Elijah about ten hours a day. JB very rarely got to hold Elijah. When I was in the hospital and during the first week home, JB would change a diaper, hand him to me, take him back, settle him to sleep, etc. But there was very little father-son time. And once I got healthier, I needed him even less for those activities. He therefore was with Isaac most of the time, and I was with Elijah.

JB will tell you that he truly started bonding with Isaac mere days after he was born. He fell for him just a few days after we left the hospital. He was helping to feed Isaac. He was getting up in the middle of the night. He was doing just as much with him as I was. He bonded with Isaac much faster than I did.

JB will also tell you that bonding with Elijah has been much slower and is still an evolving process. He hasn't had as much time with Elijah. Elijah's first week on this earth was incredibly stressful and tense. And then JB was back at work. When he comes home in the evenings, I need help with Isaac. His time with Elijah is still very limited.

Admitting the truth

I can now say, truly, that I have equal love in my hearts for both my boys. But if anything, during the weeks following Elijah's birth, I was more bonded to Isaac than I was to this new little baby. I truly am soooo glad that we adopted before we had a biological child. If things would have happened in another order ... well, picture it. Picture our first son being biological. Here comes adopted brother. Any feelings that bonding isn't occurring very quickly would be attributed to the adoption. But in our case, we were already incredibly bonded to our adopted son when our biological son emerged onto the scene.

I wish, while I was going through infertility treatments, that I would have talked to more people who had what I have: a biological and adopted child. I talked to many people who had adopted. But people who had only adopted. They told me how wonderful adoption was, but I wasn't sure I could believe them. How could they know that they felt the same about their adopted child as they did about their biological child? They didn't have a biological child to make that comparison to. If I would have met someone like me, I wonder if I would have gotten peace regarding adoption sooner than I did.

But I do have that comparison. I can make that comparison. I can tell you that I love both my boys so incredibly much. I have met three other women online who share my story. One is Amy whose boys are one year apart. She, too, travelled through infertility treatments, adoption, and then pregnancy. Another gal, Jess, has a private blog. Her son and daughter are six months apart! Talk about close! Stacy is a new gal I have just met. She is pregnant after adoption. I think a few moments on any of their blogs will show you that our family is not the exception. Here are three other families where the children have an incredible bond with their parents.

The adoption option

I have said it before, and I'll say it again. Every couple needs to travel the road of infertility and adoption in the way that it fits best for them. If that is not adopting, so be it. If that is exhausting infertility treatments, do it. If that is adopting and then doing infertility treatments, bog for it. If that is skipping infertility treatments altogether, so be it.

However, I am mostly thinking right now about the woman reading this post who has been struggling to get pregnant. You are open to adoption. But not yet. Not now. I hope that this post and my words encourage you that if and when you ever decide to pursue adoption -- whether it be to add to your already existing children or to be the first of your children -- you will fall in love with that child completely, wholeheartedly, and fully. You will bond. It may not happen right away. But it will happen. It is impossible to be responsible for a child's entire being and not love them. It is just as God loved us. We are adopted into his kingdom. And He loves us all unconditionally.

When we were contemplating adoption, I heard two comparisons that helped me tremendously.

The first was regarding my spouse. I love JB. I love him a lot. I think he is one cool guy. I would die for him. I live for him. He is not related to me. We do not have the same blood. But I still love him a whole heck of a lot.

The second comparison came from that husband of mine. When I asked him how I could be sure I would love an adopted child completely and fully he pointed at our dog. "Geez, Wendi, you are in love with that dog. And he's not even human!" So true. I love Scrubs. I'd do anything I could to save Scrubs' life. And he's not even the same species!


I hope that answered this blog reader's question. It's a hard question to answer, and I'm sorry I had to go into so much detail. It's also difficult not to mix "love" and "bonding" up when you talk about it. They seem so similar and so related. This topic is so near and dear to my heart, and I just want the world to know how awesome I think adoption is and how awesome I know you will think it is too! Stacy, Amy, and Jess, please feel free to comment if you have anything at all to add! I'd love to add your comments to this post as well.