A Pregnancy Post

I have not really written much about being pregnant. If you are not into this sort of post, feel free to skip it. I totally understand.

I think I started realizing about last week that I really am actually pregnant. I know that sounds kind of crazy since I am 25 weeks but it has been fairly easy to forget with two (well, three, right now) other kiddos running around. I was nauseous but never sick really early on and that went away quickly. I have not had any strange cravings or been ravenously hungry. The only thing that has changed about my diet is that I don’t really like chicken anymore.

According to some websites, I’m in my third trimester. I divided 40 weeks by 3 and got 13.33 weeks makes a trimester. According to that, I have a couple more weeks to go until my third trimester which makes me feel a bit better because then I feel like I have more time until she arrives. But I know, I really don’t, and I’ve started reading a couple books to get me prepared for labor and delivery (this one & this one). Tonight, I am going to a meet & greet with the doulas and midwives from the hospital where we are planning to have the baby. We have not hired a doula (although, I am sure they are worth it the fee is expensive and not covered by insurance).

Last week, I found The Longest Shortest Time the way I find all good things (via random link on Twitter). Since then, I have listened to every episode and probably should have spaced them out a bit more since some of the stories are sad or a bit scary. But, truly, it is a great podcast/blog and I highly recommend it. Also, I may or may not have read every birth story I can find on the internet. We’ve had a newborn but I’ve never been through labor. I feel prepared for somethings and totally unprepared for others.

After a cool week last week, the temperature went back up Monday and, to me, it felt like it was the hottest day ever. I was doing the school pick-up (preschool > kindergarten > other neighborhood to get G off the bus) and was so angry at how hot it was. I am totally over summer. It can go far, far away for all I care. We are doing a lot these days and my energy level is not what I would like it to be and I have suddenly realized that I actually do have some physical limitations now (I mean, not that I was running marathons or anything before). A very kind neighbor of mine offered to help me last week and then, even better, came over and said, “Seriously. Let me help.” Sometimes you just need that.

Emotionally, I am dealing with mom guilt, mostly which is completely irrational. I have guilt that this little girl will grow up with us from day one. That I get to feel her kick me. That we will see her do all her firsts. I feel guilty for missing all this with the boys and I know that makes no sense because missing out on that with them has nothing to do with me. Adoption is joyful and wonderful but also full of loss. Pregnancy is highlighting that a bit for me right now but I am trying to focus on what I do get to do with these boys and remember every hilarious thing that they do (or at least write it down for when I can’t remember).

First Week of Kindergarten

Tuesday morning I woke up prepared for a whirlwind of activity all before nine o’clock in the morning. We had three kids that needed to be in three different places. Because of a genius idea I saw on Pinterest, I had the boys clothes picked out through the week. AIB & DIB were dressed minutes after getting out of bed. DIB & G had breakfast by eight and AIB was picked up by grandpa. I drove G over to her long-term foster family’s house. By 8:15 we were down to one very excited kindergartner.

We took him outside to take some pictures with his backpack. He humored us. Then we headed over to the elementary school which was full of activity. As we waited at the door that he will enter each day with the rest of the kids in his class, we could tell the nervousness was setting in for him. He kept saying, “I just want to be with Dad.” We reassured him that he was going to have a great time. As the first bell rang, we all walked into the school (yes, we did get to go in). As we walked to his room, I felt myself tearing up. He was obviously nervous so I didn’t want to make it any worse for him and I pulled it together.

There were only nine kids coming to class that day (they stagger the first days so that the kids are not overwhelmed). They all sat down at a table and were very quiet. The first activity was writing your name (if you can) and drawing a picture of yourself on your first day of school. This is where DIB started giving us the look – the “I’m not down with this” look. While he can write his name, he really does not enjoy doing so and he does not like drawing/coloring. We’ve worked on it minimally at home and talked a lot about how you have to do what the teacher asks. We know his fine-motor skills need work. Some kids sat down and got to work. Others sort of stared at the paper (DIB included). We decided that it was time to leave and encouraged him to follow the teachers instructions. We gave him a hug & let him know that mom would be there when school was over.

Picking him up that day has to be one of my favorite parenting experiences so far. He turned the corner and saw me, ran full speed and shouted, “Mom, I missed you so much!” Thankfully, I had sunglasses on so no one could see me welling up. I asked him how the day was and he said, “It was great. But, Mom, I didn’t learn how to read.” We’ve been telling him that was one of the things he would learn in kindergarten. I guess he thought it would be more immediate. We talked about the day over Slurpees and Cheetos. On Friday, he was eager to go back to school. So far, so good.

G also was able to start kindergarten last week despite not having a birth certificate, physical or immunization form yet. The school was kind enough to give us some grace on these requirements until it all came together so she could start the same week as the rest of the kindergartners. She is really missing her family and I am hoping that school will be a good distraction from all that she is going through right now. Her teacher has been really helpful and understanding. It has been fun getting a little girl ready in the morning. She is much more into clothes and hairstyles than the boys. I hope we are making what is such a hard time in her life a bit easier.

AIB starts preschool this afternoon and he could not be more excited. It was strange to pack three backpacks last night. All the kiddos are growing up!

Two Kindergartners & a Preschooler

We received a call from our agency early last week asking us if a little girl, G (age 5), could come stay with us for a few weeks. It is a long story but she has a long-term placement with her brother that is not available until the middle of the month. Since that foster family lives in our city, by staying with us she is able to start kindergarten next week (hopefully) without having to change again when she moves in with them. It has been a little crazy getting all the details worked out but it seems to be coming together.  I asked the boys how they felt about it and, DIB said, “Mom, I will not hit her.” Thanks, buddy. Both DIB and AIB understand that kids come to stay with us from time to time. It has not seemed to affect them much yet but G will be a little different since she is closer to their age than the babies we have cared for in respite. So far, it has been going well. DIB has been especially sweet and kind to her.

Watching TV and holding on to backpacks, which now seem to be needed for everything that we do.

Tomorrow is DIB’s first day of school. We’ve been getting ready by taking tours of the classroom, having a home visit from his teacher and meeting a few new friends. He has been fairly shy at first but I can tell he is already warming up to his teachers since he has met them twice now. The way our district starts for kids in kindergarten is that eight kids from the class go on Tuesday, another eight on Wednesday and another eight on Thursday. On Friday, they will all be there for their first full day as a full class. I’m not sure yet when G will start (her long-term foster family is in the process of getting her enrolled and set up).

AIB starts preschool in a little over a week and I think he is looking forward to it. I’m anticipating some shyness and reluctance from him at first but I think he is going to have a great time. It will be good for him to establish some independence from his brother.

It is safe to say that the person having the hardest time with the boys starting school is me. D just told me earlier today that we will have to drop DIB off and likely won’t be able to walk him into the classroom (he talked to our neighbor and another friend about it and apparently this is how it is done). When he told me this, I said, “No. That is not how it works.” He said, “I’m pretty sure that is how it goes. Are you going to be alright?” My response was, “I don’t want to talk about it” followed by a little crying. I’m weepy; I’m pregnant. I can’t help it. I know DIB is five years old but he has only be here nine months. It is like sending my nine month old to kindergarten in a way. So, yeah, I’m having a bit of a hard time. But we will all make it.

It is possible that G will be our last respite placement before the baby arrives in December. Fall means that D starts school two evenings per week, I head into a busy season at work, and we have a few home renovation projects going on that are going to make life pretty interesting. Never a dull moment at our house. Even though we are tired (okay, maybe, I’m just the one who is tired), I would not change a thing. I absolutely love our life.

Baby Naming

I feel like the title is a bit of a tease because we are not actually sharing Baby Girl’s name until she arrives. I feel so smug every time someone asks me if we have a name. In all sincerity, I’m sorry. Just in case anyone wants to share their unfavorable opinion and because something has to be a surprise, we decided to keep it a secret. But, I’m not going to lie, it is hard and I could break sometime in the next 17 weeks. We picked out her name before we knew that she was a she. Boy names were much harder for us to agree upon, especially since we already chose two earlier this year that we really love.

The first picture is my mom pregnant with me in 1983. When I saw a similar shirt at Target, I had to get it.

My parents have told me I was almost a Meghan. Then it came down to Kristin or Kristal which is how they compromised on my name. I like that my name is kind of unique.

I’ve mentioned before that I am fascinated by names. I love hearing what people like and dislike. I love hearing what celebrities pick. And there have been some great celebrity baby names lately.

  • Penelope Athena: The name of Tina Fey’s newest daughter. But, of course, I’m going to love anything Tina Fey does.
  • Haven Garner: Jessica Alba’s new daughter. I love Haven. I love her other daughter’s name, Honor Marie, just a tiny bit more.
  • In breaking news, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are expecting again. Their daughters, Violet and Seraphina, set a precedent for baby number three having a great name.
  • Two famous bloggers, Heather Armstrong of Dooce and Rebecca Woolf of Girls Gone Child, have picked out awesome names for their kids. Heather’s daughters are Leta and Marlo. Rebecca’s son is Archer, she has a daughter, Fable, and two more children on the way.
  • A couple big family bloggers, Design Mom and Soule Mama, have great sibling sets of names. Gabrille has Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty and June and Amanda has Calvin, Ezra, Adelaide, Harper and Annabel.
  • As for non-celebrities, I think both my sisters-in-law are great baby namers (nieces: Elliana “Ellie”, Annabel “Annie”, and Willow; nephews: Mason and Shay). I’m sure my brothers-in-law had some say in those names too.

A few ideas we played around with but did not end up choosing for this baby were Zoe (means “life” in Greek) and Eden. We thought both went well with the boys’ names (as does the one we chose). There are lots and lots of other names I love but they don’t mesh well with the boys’ names so those will have to be for someone else’s babies.

Feel free to take a guess. The only hint we have given is that it is Biblical. So, for now, we refer to her as Hagar.

Adoption Party

This week we had party to celebrate the boys’ adoption. We are blessed with a supportive family and wonderful friends. My sister-in-law made some amazing decorations and created “time capsule” jars for the boys. Our guests wrote notes for each boy and put them in the jar. We will hold on to them until they are 18 but I might have to peak first.

We grilled hot dogs and ate watermelon. It was a team effort to get this party together. I could not be more thankful for those who helped us celebrate.  I need all the help I can get these days. It was so fun to see each person who is woven into our family’s story.

And then we all went home and crashed, just like our little niece, Annie (how sweet is she?).

Awkward Questions & a Crazy Brave Kiddo

We are getting ready to go back to school which means the boys both had to get physicals today. It is always interesting going to the doctor with your kids that came to you through adoption. For us, we know very little about their history so we cannot answer a lot of questions. I was able to get the boys’ insurance worked out so that they can go to the same doctor that I see (she is a family practice doctor). She was so supportive when I was in to get physicals done for both our foster care licensing and adoption approval. I was so excited for her to meet the boys today.

However, the office had residents working there and the one we got was, well, awkward. The first thing she said when she saw me and two boys was, “You are so young.” Granted, I am a little young to have a five and four-year old but it is not totally unheard of for someone my age to have preschoolers. She started asking me a bunch of questions. I explained that we finalized the boys adoption a few weeks ago. She asked me where they are from (Michigan) and how we got them (We were their foster parents and then we adopted them). Then she said to them,

A & D, who gave you those names?

They just stared at me and I said to them, “You’re first mommy gave you that name, didn’t she?” Then the resident said, “So, you adopted them from their parents?” I explained they were in foster care. I was afraid of where the questions might go from there. It is a whole different thing when you are answering questions in front of kids; I want to show them that adoption is nothing be ashamed of but that we don’t owe an explanation to everyone we meet just because they are curious. And, as in any situation, I want to model graciousness and good manners.

She continued on with her exam of them and the normal questions. She kept mentioning how cute they are (and who can blame her for that). Then, sort out of nowhere, she said,

They are so cute. Where did you find them?

I mean, really?!? Like I looked for them in a store or catalog. I pretty much ignored that question and decided that this woman knew nothing about foster care or adoption. The boys were mostly oblivious to her awkwardness and were fascinated by all the medical gear in the room.  Our regular doctor came in to say hi and was so nice and kind with the boys, treating them like the normal children that they are.

Even more amazing than the strange questions we were asked is my four-year old who received three shots and had blood drawn with no tears. The first shot, he merely said, “Oww.” The second shot, he laughed like it tickled. The third, a TB test, he watched and was fascinated by the bubble under his skin. And then for getting blood drawn he did not even flinch at the needle in his skin and watched the whole time as they took blood. He is four! He is crazy brave about this kind of stuff. I never watch when I get a shot or have blood drawn – ever! (You are all wondering how I’m going to deal with child-birth now, aren’t you? Trust me, so am I.)

So, that was our day today. Last night we had an amazing Adoption Party that I will share about when I get some pictures from those who were kind enough to bring cameras. Our boys are very loved.

Saturday Seven (I know it is Monday)

I started writing this on Saturday…

1. The boys were at Safety Town last week. They were very excited when I explained to them what Safety Town was but, of course, when I dropped them off Monday morning they both turned into statues. Blank stares and no talking. They didn’t cry or ask me to take them home or anything – they just got completely still. On Wednesday morning when I dropped them off AIB was clingy and telling me he loved me (and he is not our affectionate one). Regardless, the boys seemed to enjoy the week.

2. Thanks to Safety Town, we’ve heard a lot about stranger danger and playground safety this week. They have been randomly pointing to people at Target and telling me, “Those people are strangers. Don’t talk to them.” While at a graduation party Sunday afternoon DIB shouted, “Those kids are not practicing playground safety!” The highlight of their week seemed to be the visit to the fire station where they got to help the firemen with the water hose and a visit from the police officers.

3. Although you are supposed to get your energy back in the second trimester my body has not gotten that message yet. Wednesday afternoon was rough for me and I was dragging. And I had a four year-old who was not interested in making life any easier. So, after I put the kids to bed, I made a personal size portion of Salted White Chocolate Popcorn (forever indebted to Meredith for this recipe) and watched Baby Mama (again). I should probably own this movie.

4. I told D this week that I feel like only about 70% of my brain is working properly. Everything is just a bit hazy. An example: I rolled my mini-van into a BMW on Wednesday while driving the boys home from the library. The BMW moved and then stopped but I didn’t. Why? I have no idea. The man driving the BMW was so kind. There was no damage to his car and just a tiny crack on my bumper. I was so happy he didn’t want to call the police and that he was not mad at me that I hugged him. I hugged a stranger. I wonder what Safety Town would say about that.

5. Something I really don’t like is being a cliché. “Pregnancy brain” and “mom brain” are cliché. It just annoys me because it is true.

6. DIB told me yesterday that he wishes he had been with us when we got married. I told him I wish he would have been there too (he was about six months old when we got married). I told him there was a video of our wedding if he wanted to watch it and he was super excited about that. I doubt he will feel the same way after watching it for about five minutes. It is not nearly as exciting as The Backyardigans.

7. And the most exciting news of last week…we have a court date! We are just a few short weeks away from officially adopting the boys. Hallelujah!

Family Vacation

We are back from our lake-house vacation in Tennessee. I couldn’t stop singing the Arrested Development song the whole time we were there.

We had a great time on our first trip as a family. The twelve-hour car trip was a little rough on a certain four-year-old. We knew we were in trouble when we were only one hour into the trip when he said, “Why is this taking so long?” The trip back was a little worse when he decided to only take a 30 minute nap and talk literally the rest of the drive home.

I don’t know why Chik-Fil-A has not made their way to Michigan yet but it is probably a good thing in my case. Pregnancy has given me a strong distaste for chicken but has only increased my life-long love of waffle fries. We hit up our first Chik-Fil-A in Ohio and then visited a few times while in Tennessee and one of the way back in Kentucky. I’m hoping my midwife is not reading this because I’m pretty sure large quantities of waffle fries are not on the “to eat” list for pregnancy.

The boys had the time of their life. Besides have 24-7 attention from us and their grandparents we also had cousins, aunts, and uncles there as well. The highlights for them included:

  • Swimming in the lake and basically living in a swim suit
  • Swimming in the “little pool” (A.K.A. the hot tub with the temperature turned way down)
  • Driving a boat (with proper adult assistance, of course)
  • Tubing (AIB only lasted about a minute; DIB enjoyed a good 10 minute slow ride)
  • Riding a pony – particularly exciting for DIB who has been asking to do this for months
  • Putt-putt golf with Grandma and Grandpa
  • Sparklers, Pop-Its and fireworks
The highlights for D and I were:
Overall, they were really well-behaved even off their normal schedule. We are slowly attempting to get back into our routine. DIB had a few sad moments this week saying that he missed the lake and wanted to do “something he had never done before.” Good thing for him, at five years old, there will be plenty more opportunities for that.
P.S. We recorded a new episode of the podcast right before we left.

Just in Case You Haven’t Heard…

Yesterday morning, I received word from our social worker that we have received consent to adopt the boys! The next step is waiting for a court date. We did all our court-related paperwork ahead of time so the Petition to Adopt has already been filed as well as the paperwork for their new birth certificates.

Although we knew that this was coming and did not expect any interruptions to the process, I was surprised at how emotional I felt when we got word that consent had been signed. I honestly do not know how we ever did life without these two guys. We are so over-the-top in love with them and so is our extended family.

And just to make 2011 (or possibly early 2012) a little more exciting, we decided to add to our family once again.

Baby #3 is due just between Christmas and New Years. Was it planned? Uh, kinda. Were we surprised still? Definitely. What do the boys think? They are excited but I wouldn’t say it has exactly deterred them from their normal activities of pretending to be firemen. So, there you have it: family of five within just over a year.

We are off on a vacation with extended family which hopefully means I get to take lots of naps.

*Photos by Jenn Anibal

Milestones and Firsts

I’ve mentioned before how I can get a little sad at times about all the “firsts” we have missed with our boys. I guess that is why when we get to experience them I am fighting back tears.

Yesterday morning, DIB came and told me he had something stuck between his teeth. I told him to go brush them but he said that didn’t work so D gave it a look. Sure enough, he had an adult tooth coming in right behind his front baby tooth. He walked over to me and I wiggled his little baby tooth shocked to see that it was very, very loose! I told him, “You have a loose tooth. You are getting your big kid teeth.” He was just beaming with excitement. I was resisting tears and the urge to scream, “Please stop growing up!”  Since they were headed to my moms yesterday, I told him that if his tooth fell out he needed to tell Grandma.

When I picked him up the tooth was still there but he had been wiggling it all day. We recently read The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist so he was pretty familiar with the whole loose tooth situation. We had plans to go to a fundraiser for a friend’s mission trip so we picked up D at home and headed our way to the restaurant.

On the way there, DIB shouted, “My tooth fell out!” He handed me this tiny little tooth and showed us his brand new gap. (Again, I tried not to cry.) We noticed later that the tooth right next to it is also loose so the Tooth Fairy might be at our house a couple times this week.  He asked us if the Tooth Fairy was real or pretend. I told him the Tooth Fairy was a really fun thing to pretend but that the surprise he will find under his pillow would be very real!

He proceeded to tell everyone at the restaurant – our waitress, the friends we ran into – that he lost his tooth. He did not skip any part of the story starting with, “This morning, we saw that I had a loose tooth….” I hope everyone wanted all the details.

When we got home, we put the tooth in a little baggie and DIB put it under his pillow. The Tooth Fairy made it there around 10:00 pm and put a dollar under the pillow and took the tooth. D suggested we leave a quarter but I kindly told him that this was 2011. The kid should get a dollar. If it was Grandpa Tooth-Fairy, then he would have gotten a twenty.

At 6:20 am this morning, DIB came into our room to show us his dollar. We told him that it was so exciting but he really needed to get back in bed. He went to the bathroom first and it was taking a little longer than necessary. Before heading back to his room, he stopped back in our room and said,

Guys, I have something to tell you. I was trying to pee and hold on to my dollar and I dropped it in the toilet.

He was holding the dollar as he told us this. The thing is that, at our house, sleep takes a high priority even over germs so I told him to go put the dollar down and we would take care of it later. But, please, get back in bed.