Thursday, January 29, 2009

Being A Working Mom...

means missing out on so many of your little one's precious moments. For example...

Jen, Payton's babysitter, always writes a little note about Payton's day (how much he slept, when he ate, etc). I find these notes incredibly helpful and love that she does that for us. I glanced over the note today and she had a smiley face next to the fact that he rolled over. He has been so close to rolling over for a looooong time but just had not figured out how to swing his hips just yet. Jen wrote, "Payton rolled over today, not sure if that is new or not, but I thought you might want to know." My heart sank. While I am thrilled Payton is meeting his milestones, I am so sad that I missed it. How many more firsts will I miss? I love teaching and love that I truly can "make a difference," but is it worth it? Hmmmm....

After reading the note I took Payton upstairs to his room and plopped him on the floor (our dog free zone) to see if he would do it again. Sure enough, he was willing to show off his new skills (I just had visions of Napoleon Dynamite...skills...some of you might get it...). He rolled and rolled and rolled like he is an old pro. Where was he hiding this ability? Here is short clip of Payton's skills. Soon he will be able to draw ligers :)

In addition to rolling over, Payton also learned how to razz today. He has blown bubbles for 6 weeks or so, but this is new sound he can make by sucking in his bottom lip. As far as I know I did witness this first. (And if he was doing it while Jen was watching him today, she had better not tell will turn me into a real mess. I feel inadequate enough as it is!) He razzed all the way home from the sitters today (a good 30 minutes) and all evening. Payton likes to repeat things a lot when he learns something new. I tried to capture that on video but my dogs were barking so loudly that they muted cute Payton sounds. Oh well.

(Note: I originally titled this post "Why I Hate Being a WORKING Mom" but decided to change the title for two reasons: A) I did want people to misinterpret what I meant and think that I don't love being a mom, because I love being Payton's mommy. B) I was having a moment of bitterness about work, but I do really love teaching, I have just not mastered the art of balancing these loves (Payton and teaching) in my life. Any advice?)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Payton and Lily Update

Payton's official diagnosis: bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the tiny bronchioles in the lungs due to an infection, most likely RSV. We went back to the doc on Thursday and Friday. She put Payton on albuterol nebulizer treatments every 4 hours, a steroid, and two different antibiotics just in case this was morphing into bacterial pneumonia. Whew. Amazingly enough, Payton has still been his happy little self through all the wheezing, snot, throwing up, and medicine. In fact, he LOVES his nebulizer treatments and sucks in the air coming out because it is cool and tastes different to him. It is hysterical to watch. I am so glad our little boy is so laid back, or this would be much worse to deal with. I am so glad that Payton did not get this until he was 4 months old as he did have all the risk factors: premature, male, formula fed, around other kids, mom is a teacher, etc. I can't imagine how this would be on Wes and I if he was a tiny newborn with RSV and bronchiolitis. I would be totally nervous! The other down side is that newborns that get RSV and bronchiloitis are more prone to asthma as children and adults. Please pray that our little Payton will not develop asthma.

As for Lily, she is responding well to the new chemo and the tumors are continuing to shrink again. She was very sick after the dose of antibiotics the vets gave her on Monday at her check up and we sent her back to the vet on Tuesday for all-day monitoring. Then Wes had to go back again on Wednesday to pick up a new antibiotic that wouldn't make her so sick to her stomach. The end result is that Wes made three trips to the vet and three trips to the pediatrician this week. We are keeping the economy going be supporting doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

It is my prayer that the whole family will soon be well. The sickness needs to go away!

Monday, January 19, 2009

4 months!

Payton's 4 month pic with his horse.

If you like reading about babies and mommyhood, read on. If you don't, skip this post.

Although Payton turned four months old last week, I decided to wait and do this post after his visit to the doctor today. Payton is now 13 lbs 140z (25th percentile), 24 1/4in long (25th percentile), and his little head is 16 3/4 in (5oth percentile). He is quite the growing boy. Payton received all of his scheduled vaccines today. The first time I took Payton to the doctor I was worried about the vaccines and all of the rumors that they are tied to autism etc, and wondered if we were making the right choice to vaccinate him. The reality is it is not our choice at all, as adoptive parents we are REQUIRED to vaccinate Payton. We must have proof of Payton's vaccinations before our adoption can be finalized in court (sometime after March 17...hopefully St. Patrick will bring Good Luck our way). After doing further research, I have come to the conclusion that we are doing the right thing to vaccinate Payton. My cousin Meg is a neonatologist and really thought that we would be doing a disservice to Payton if we did not vaccinate him. She also talked me thru some of the myths of vaccines and how little (none) medical evidence exists that links vaccines to these other diseases. I am now a firm supporter of vaccines.
In addition to his measurements and vaccines, the doctor told us Payton was growing just fine physically and on track developmentally. He scowled the entire time we were in the office. If looks could kill... The doctor also said that Payton's heart murmur is almost gone! WOOHOOO! The bad news...Payton has RSV. He started coughing 2 days ago (2 days after I came down with a cold) and she said it was symptomatic of RSV and he most likely will get much worse before he gets better. Then she gave us a regimen of treatments and ideas to try and keep Payton out of the hospital. We went straight to Target to grab some goods: baby Tylenol, vaporizer, etc. She also sent us home with packets of singular to mix into applesauce. This helps to keep baby lungs open and functioning. The greatest risk for newborns with RSV is severe respiratory distress. So, we mixed singular and applesauce and fed it to Payton. Sounds easy enough...but Payton has never consumed solids. While at Target we also bought spoons, bowls and organic apple sauce. We had not planned to give him solids until he was six months old, but the RSV changed our plans. Wes had not even set up the high chair yet. Here is the result of Payton's first experience with "solids":

He did eventually eat all of the applesauce...40 minutes later! (Btw, you can ignore the sounds of Family Guy in the background...Wes loves that show...I can't say I feel the same way.)

Payton is meeting his milestones as scheduled and entering to this joyous phase of infancy where he is all smiles, screeches, and coos. He finds delight in every new thing he touches. He loves when he looks up and me or Wes and we are close enough he can grab our noses and squeeze. He is also a HUGE fan of crinkle books. He loves to jump, thump, and bounce. Payton likes to show off his moves on his play mat. Check out this boys rhythm...
He can also sit on his own for a minute or two before toppling over... Payton also loves to swim at the pool and sing to his star on the play gym. He is such a happy, easy going baby. And we are so in love with this little bundle God so generously and graciously entrusted to our care.

Payton is changing daily and so are our "routines." I am now a working mom and I can't say that I am a huge fan, but it has given me a new appreciation for all those working moms, esp. single working moms and those with 3 or 4 kids. How do they do it? I thought being a stay home mom was hard enough while I was home for the first 3 1/2 months, now things have gotten even more complicated, interesting, and HARD. Payton is such a sweet heart that I love every moment with him. Maybe if he was more of a cranky baby (and I don't wish for his sweet demeanor to ever change) I would find my return to work a little less...sad (I am not sure what word would best describe how I feel about this). I simply can't get enough of Payton and being at work means I have to hand Payton over for a good 7 hours. That just sucks. Plain and simple. I still find myself wanting to hold and cuddle him all the time. When people ask to hold him, I really don't mind from a "protective" mom point of view, I just mind that I am sharing some of what now feels like very limited time with my boy. But I always smile and say sure, you can hold him. I did get clever the other nite when Wes and I took Payton to a basketball game at school that was raising funds for the American Cancer Society and honoring cancer survivors (Wes' mom, Judy, a cancer survivor, was with us). I put him in the baby bjorn, that way people wouldn't ask to hold him and I was able to hold his hands (and keep their hands and germs off of his). Although clever, Payton still caught a cold somehow... probably from me bringing home snotty teenager germs from school. Again, yay for being a working mom...with a cold...and a baby with a cold... and grades are due. This pic sums up how Payton and I are feeling these days...(I am trying to tell myself I will feel less bitter and a little better when I get my first paycheck after not getting one for 3 1/2 months. Bring on January 30th... I need a working mom morale booster before I give up on the whole working part...not that our finances would allow that, and I don't think Wes would be too excited either.) I am still so happy I spent 3 1/2 months off of work and used every moment of the FMLA leave I could muster. Payton. Is. Worth. It.

Where was I...our "routine." So we don't exactly do things the same way twice in our house hold and I honestly think that has molded Payton into the flexible, happy anywhere, anytime, with anyone boy, that we have. But an average work day goes something along these lines: Wes and I wake up and shower and I go in to Payton's room at 7:20. He is still sleeping like a rock. He squirms and wriggles a little as I put a new diaper, a new sleeper (the sleep sacks he uses at nite have that wonderful urine smell by morning), and lather his body in lotion. Wes takes care of the animals as I work on packing Payton's bag for the day. I load Payton into the car seat (he is all smiles and awake at this point) and one of us takes him to the sitters (Wes' grandma M,T,W, and my Mom or Jen T,Th). We drop him off at 745 and he has his first bottle. I love when Jen watches him because she will send me pics throughout the day to my school email. It brightens my day so much. I am right out the door as soon as we are permitted to leave school and usually pick up Pate around 330. Then I come home and give him a bottle and we play and play (practice sitting on the bed, playing on the play gym, bouncing in the jumper, reading books, singing and dancing...etc) and play. I feel like I cannot divert may attention away from him for one moment since I was gone all day. That means that the dishes, laundry, floors, emails, etc are put on the back burner until...well, I guess I will do that stuff sometime. I do have a friend, Frances, that cleans our house every other week. She is soooo sweet and even takes care of my dogs. I owe whatever ounce of sanity I have left to her. Frances is the best. She worked for my mom and grandma when I was younger and I am so glad she helps me. Again, I digress. Around 7 or 8 Payton has another bottle and takes a one hour nap before waking and for another hour or so of playing. He gets his last bottle around 10 and then its is off to bed. I am so blessed to have such a great little boy!
I'll finish this post with a pic of the awesome Obama poster hanging in Payton's room. Today we have a new president and a new hope. It is my prayer that this nation will continue to grow and blossom and overcome prejudice and poverty. I am excited that Payton watched Obama take the oath of office today. As I said the pledge at school today, I felt so proud of our nation. We transferred power to a new leader...peacefully. And we are continuing to overcome the racism that has plagued our nation for a long time. May this day represent HOPE for all Americans and may it open doors for a special little boy, sleeping peacefully in his crib as I type just a few feet away, that may have never dreamed that he could truly be whatever he wanted to be. Now he's seen it. Now he can dream it. Sweet dreams little Payton. Be proud to be an American tonight!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Water Baby

Wes and I belong to a local gym and it has a workout pool and a therapy pool. The therapy pool is quite warm and I thought Payton might enjoy some time in the water. Payton is now an experienced water baby, having been twice. We bought him a reusable swim diaper and took to the water. He loved it. He kicked his legs when he swam on his tummy and relaxed when I put him on his back. He was so tired by the time we finished playing in the water that he fell asleep and stayed asleep while I rinsed us off in the shower. I love that he is such a happy water baby and it is a great family activity for us to enjoy on the weekends. Check out the video of Wes and Payton in the pool today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

He's a Winner!

Well, actually Daisy was (8th in special adult and 7th in adult eq- decent considering we only made it to 5 shows all season), but Payton accepted her awards and posed Daisy's ribbons and Aunt Brooke's new cooler for being Level 5 Jumper Champion. Note that my hands are just behind the chair. Payton is sitting on his own these days. But he is still plenty wobbly, only lasting about one minute before toppling over.
The Kemper Knoll crew...we done good, yall!

This has nothing to do with the SWVHJA awards, but I did think it was such a cute pic because it totally looks like Payton is a scholar, studying his baby einstein book of numbers. Learn away little man.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Need Some Help From My Blogger Buddies!

Hi Adoptive Families!

Our church is doing a series in our community fellowship class about adoption into the Family of God. What is so wonderful about our church is that there are MANY adoptive families. I am so grateful that we are a part of this beautiful church family. The person conducting the series is an adoptive Dad to two beautiful children. He asked Wes and me, being the most recent adoptive parents, to share our story of adoption to kick off the series on Sunday. In a matter of 5-10 minutes, I have to explain our journey to Payton and what it has been like for us since his arrival. Wow. The long-winded teacher in my is finding the task near impossible. How can I some up an entire year of emotional roller coasting into 5-10 minutes, with a few pictures per his request. I decided to turn to you guys. What experiences in your journeys, before and after your little bundles of joy arrived, were the highlights of your adoption quest? Maybe this will help me narrow my talk, but also give me some other examples to reference. I think each adoption story is so special and unique! Also, I wanted to share with the entire group about things that sometimes hurt our feelings a little bit...for ex. when people ask "when will we have children of our own?" Just to provide a little food for thought and also educate non-adoptive families on appropriate adoption language (ex. so that when Payton is older, people won't ask him about his "real" parents, sending him conflicting messages about who he is and who his family is, instead choosing the word birth parent is more appropriate). I would love some advice! The following week we are sharing our story with the kids group in a kid-friendly way. I was thinking of reading them an adoption book for kids or something and comparing that story with ours. In other ideas? I usually teach high school students, not elementary kids, so this is a whole new audience for me. I know their are some elementary school teachers out there!!!!! Please, lend me your creative hand!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Treat for Lily

I have blogged about our Lily before. She is our five y.o. boxer that we got the month after we were married and we LOVE her. Lily was diagnosed with lymphoma in July and has undergone chemo therapy since August. At first, she responded very well to the therapy and her swollen glands were dramatically reduced. However, her cancer returned two weeks ago. Apparently, the fact that she came out of remission while undergoing chemo therapy is not a good indication that she will respond to the remaining treatments. (I am trying not to think about the money we invested in her chemo and the fact that it did not work... it is too depressing.) Wes and I are having a very hard time coming to grips with the fact that Lily's time as a happy, healthy pup is probably very limited (1-3 months). She is scheduled for a heavy chemo treatment on Monday. We are hoping and praying that she will go back into remission or that it will at least shrink her glands again and give us a few extra months with our love. If Lily was not feeling well, we would immediately abandon her treatments, but she seems to feel fine. She has not lost weight and still eats all of her food and can still run a few miles. We are, however, in touch with the gravity and reality of this situation. Laura, our vet, is wonderful and treats Lily like her own. She even brings her out to the car after her treatments on Thursdays. We feel blessed to have a Boxer lover as our vet. When Wes took Lily to the vet last Wednesday, he started to ask Laura about the inevitable. Before Wes could finish the sentence, Laura said, "Yes, I will come to Lily's house so she will be comfortable and relaxed." When Wes told me me what she said, I was so touched. In the mean time, we are trying to do what is best for Lily while she is still strong and healthy (except for the cancer). The vet told us that quality of life is the most important thing we can do for Lily. We have tried to cuddle with her, take her on extra walks and runs, get her hamburgers if we eat fast food, and feed her food...from the dinner table (which used to be a big no no in our house). Today was another special treat just for Lily.

Today was a beautiful day in Virginia, 46 degrees! We decided to load up the car and head up to the Skyline Drive to do what Lily loves most...hiking with her pack! On the way, we stopped at McDonalds and got her a hamburger. We ended up around mile 71 at Eaton Overlook. This was not the original hike we mapped out in our "Best Day Hikes" book, but we had pulled over at Eaton Overlook and happened to notice that there was a trail just off to the left, so we ventured out after feeding, changing, and bundling Payton (30 minutes!) The trail went .2 miles until we left the national park and entered onto private trails in the back country. We continued another .4 miles and ended at a small cabin that I believe is rented out to public by the private owners. There was clearing in front of the cabin that had a beautiful view. It was obvious we were not the only people to travel along this trail and we did not see any "no trespassing "signs, so we did not worry to much about it. The trail was a little rocky, but easily negotiable and not too steep. I had no problem hiking and carrying Payton in the baby bjorn. It is a nice little out and back hike (about 1.2 miles total) if you ever pull over at Eaton Overlook. Of course, our short hikes take us quite a while because we stop for pictures, dogs to potty, investigate things, sit and be still, reflect, etc. Here are some pics from Lily's special treat!

Lily and her Daddy. Jackson made fun of her purple coat all day until Lily gave him the "if you look at me like that one more time I am going to rip your head off" stare.
About .2 miles from the trail head.

Can you see Carmen on the hill?

Carmen's little face is starting to get so white. I still cannot believe she is already 10 years old!

A happy little hiker. Payton stayed awake all the way down and slept all the way up. He was cooing when Wes snapped this pic.

Beautiful Lil-looga!

The view from the clearing in front of the cabin.
In the end, we had a wonderful family outing and Lily was a happy little girl! We topped of her day with stop by Granma and GaGa Kite's house. Lily loves Wes' Dad and always thinks it is treat to see him. I hope she had as much fun today as we did!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Joyous Kwanzaa

Tonight was the last night of Kwanzaa! The proper greeting is to wish everyone a "Joyous Kwanzaa." So, to all of you in blog land, I hope you had a Joyous Kwanzaa and warm wishes for 2009! This was our first year celebrating Kwanzaa and we still have some learning to do: the terminology, songs, etc. I have learned that Kwanzaa can be celebrated so many different ways and each families traditions are slightly different. Our celebration this year was very low key. It was just the three of us each nite reading about unity, self-determination, purpose, creativity, etc. Tonight we celebrated FAITH (faith that 2009 will be a great year, among other things...) and lit all seven candles on the kinara. Then we enjoyed a karamu (feast). I hope to cook a traditional African meal for Payton next year. Payton could only drink Similac this year. We also gave Payton his Kwanzaa gifts: a couple of children's books that celebrate diversity. Payton must have really enjoyed the week's festivities because this morning he LAUGHED for the first time. For weeks he has chuckled like the Pillsbury dough boy, but today he laughed and laughed when I went to get him from his morning nap. I can't wait to hear him laugh again. What a great way to start 2009. I am so grateful I was off of work today so I could experience this milestone!
Did anyone else celebrate Kwanzaa this year? What did you do to celebrate?