Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recent Activity

There are many things I want to blog about, but I have not had the energy to put a lot of thought and detail into my posts lately. Sorry. So for now, here are a few pics and snippets of info about our household activity over the last few weeks.

Last week I said goodbye to some of the friends I made over the summer as I helped with a local refugee resettlement program. I was so sad to my new friends move away, but I hope they are happy with their move to a new community of people from their country. Please join in praying for these families as the re-settle, yet again.

Kelay (in pink) with her children, Hannah and Filimon, and her brother Kene and his daughter Ajaji. Kelay and Kene were reunited just days before Kelay left to move to be with her other brother. It was a joy to see them so happy together!
Roma and her children, Gidama, Gadi and Anne. Roma is such a smart woman. I am really going to miss her smile and laughter!

This picture was taken at their going away party.

Me and the kiddos! Gidama (sitting next to me) has really melted my heart with his sweetness. I hope all of these children grow big and strong! God bless each one!

Payton and I spent a lot of time getting to know these women and their wonderful children over the summer. I think Payton sure will miss them too!
Payton has been busy growing and changing. Payton learned how to blow spit bubbles on the window. These windows used to always have dog slobber on they have dog slobber...and Payton slobber.

Meet Lulu, the not-so-pretty (long-snouted,scrawny,natural ears and natural tail) but sweet-as-can-be boxer. Yes, we got another dog. Yes, we are crazy! Lulu came to our house as a foster from the rescue (Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue)... long story... and we really did not want a foster but it was an emergency situation (as most are) and we agreed. Over the last few weeks we have fallen for sweet Lulu. She was the easiest foster we have ever worked with... no potty training, no leash training, no fighting, no aggression, no heart worms, no major kennel anxiety, no tearing up stuff... well, she is just wonderful!!!!! We were informed yesterday that a family was interested in her and if we wanted to keep we had to make a decision ASAP. And so, we decided to make her an official member of the family. This pic was taken yesterday on our first "pack" (walk) with Lulu as an official member of our growing family.

Payton is busy turning into a big boy. Look at him... so grown! And so darn cute.

Payton is also busy learning. I was amazed as I watched him line up the toys from the basket. Check it out! Smart kid.
Last week I was treated by my Mom to tickets to hear President Carter accept an award from the local college for his peace efforts in the Middle East. His acceptance speech highlighted his policy proposal for achieving peace between Israel and Palestine. It was quite a night. Thanks, Mom, for the tickets, and thanks, Judy and Dennis, for watching Payton so I could enjoy the evening.
Wes has been busy with his last semester of his MBA program (10 credit hours) plus a full time job, plus being a daddy...whew. I am just trying to hold down the home front...and of course my teaching job and my part-time coaching... on very little sleep (usually 4 hours... Payton is being a stinker at night lately), but that is a story for whole different day.
Even with the craziness in our lives, we feel incredibly blessed to have our little family.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Party Time!

Here are some fun pics of Payton's first birthday party! I always poked fun at parents who threw big parties for their one year old kids because the kids won't remember, I guess I am eating my words now...

We held the party at a local park so the kids could have a play ground. Gadi and Gidama had a blast on the playground (and witnessed a tennis game for the very first time!) However, they were not fans of the American party food! Where is injera when you need it?

Lucy just cruised around the shelter! She is such a big girl these days. Payton was so happy his bffs came!

We rented a shelter at the park. It think it was a great plan because the clean up was easy!! And the kids had plenty to do! You can see Payton's Dearpa and Dearma (my Godparents Tom and Sue) in this pic! We were so excited that they were BOTH able to make it!

Payton with his Great Grandma Wright (Mamaw) and his big cousin Bryden.

Yum! Eating his cake (with applesauce substituted for the egg). Unfortunately, I do not have a pic of the cute winnie the pooh cake his Grandma Darlene got for his party for the rest of us to eat. Does anyone have a pic they can send me?

Payton with is Grandma Judy!

Mikal, one of Payton's new friends from Eritrea, loves Payton!

The babies had a great time opening gifts. At one point all the kids were opening Payton's presents and he was crawling away. Typical! Bryden, Payton's big cousin did a great job keeping us focused on the task at hand :). Chloe, Lucy and Matthew joined in the fun as well!

New clothes! Payton is so excited! Look at those hands waving!

He loved the box on this toy!
I think the party was a success and the weather was beautiful. Thanks to everyone that came to celebrate the life of this little boy that we treasure so much! Check out the post below for updates on what Payton is doing these days as a ONE YEAR OLD! Where does the time go?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Payton is 1 Year Old!

I still find it hard to believe that our little baby boy is not such a little baby any more. WOW. Where have these precious months gone? Just an update on some of Payton's favorite things these days:
1. Payton likes to call me Mum-Mum. He says it in a very growly, low voice and usually only when he is frustrated about something. Payton calls Wes Daddy. He says it in a very sweet, little voice and he says this all the time. He will often see a man on TV, in a book, or in a picture and reach his hand out and say Daddy. The other day we were having brunch at the Little Grill, which has a picture of JFK hanging on the wall. Payton reached toward the picture and said, "Daddy?"

2. Payton is incredibly talkative. He has his own little language and just babbles away. He is especially vocal when we are in the car. So far, he reagulalrly says Doggie,Carmen (Ahhhmen), Baby and Jackie. Jackie is our boxer and he says Doggie for all the others dogs, esp. when he hears them bark. He also attempted to repeat "I love you" back to me, but it came out " iooooo". Payton clearly understands several other words, including kiss, bottle, cheerios, and NO.

3. Payton FINALLY signed. I really wanted him to start signing. Once he learned to clap, he immediately began using the "more" sign. So far, that is the only sign he is using. I hope more signs will follow soon. He has also discovered that he can make his fingers do a snapping action. I am not sure how this came about, but he does it. He just can't make the sound very loudly.

4. Payton loves music soooo much. He loves it when we dance around the house, he claps his hands to music, and he litterally jumps up and down when I move toward his radio to turn on Raffi. What a silly boy. I signed up Payton for a Kindermusik class that starts in October. My mom is taking him to class since it is during my work hours. I hope he really has a great time!

5. We found out that Payton is allergic to eggs when I made him a test run birthday cake. He yacked (VIOLENTLY) about 45 minutes after he ate the cake. Last nite I made him one with applesauce instead of egg and he was fine. No eggs for this boy! While this is a bit of a pain, I am just grateful that he is not allergic to milk, soy, or wheat! Hopefully, Payton will outgrow his egg allergy.
6. Payton is still drinking 4 bottles of formula a day. I am waiting to talk to his pediatrician before taking him off of formula. He is still refusing to drink out of sippy cups! I swear I've bought at least 8 different types of sippy cups. Little stinker! Any tips? I have started giving him a tad bit of whole milk during the day to start helping his body adjust but will make a final decision about this when we meet with his pediatrician on Oct
7. Payton no longer sucks his thumb. I thought he would be a thumb sucker forever, but he just gave it up cold turkey as he got his upper teeth. I am a bit relieved that we won't have to break this habit down the road, but it also means that Payton no longer self-soothes himself at nite. Instead, he wakes up crying and won't go back to sleep until one of us rubs his back. Many nites, he ends up in our bed around 4 am and just stays there until morning. So many people have given us a hard time about this "bad" habit, but if it makes him happy and calm and allows us all SLEEP, then too bad, it works for us. I am not sure how to get this kiddo to sleep a bit more! He wakes up around 7, takes ONE 1 1/2 hour nap during the day, and does not turn in for the evening until 9 or 10. He just GOES GOES GOES! WOW. You would think he needs more sleep, but he is just happy as a clam almost all of the time.

8. In an effort to try and find Payton a lovey, something that he could hold or sleep with that might help him feel more at ease, we came across this doll (see pic). Meet Devin (named after the Bear's wide reciever). He has hair and Payton loves it! Payton rubs my hair when he drinks his bottle or when he is upset, so we thought something with hair would make him feel better. While he does love to play with Devin, he has not really latched onto Devin as a lovey just yet.

9. Payton is such a love bug. He will radomly stop what he is doing just to give me a three seond snuggle. So precious. Also, when I ask him for a kiss, he looks at me and makes a lip smacking sound. Too cute! He still loves to be rocked to sleep and cuddled. I hope this sticks around for a while, I am not ready for my baby to be a big boy just yet.
10. Payton is still cruising along furniture and walking with assitance, but has yet to take a step without help. I can tell he wnats to do it, but he just cannot figure out how to balance his very heavy head and torso on his tiny little legs. Wes and I laugh at him sometimes when he does his yoga or "A Frame" when he is trying to stand up. Silly boy. I am in no rush for him to walk as I have a hard enough time keeping up with a crawler. When he is ready, he will walk...

11. Payton has started going to the barber everyother week. Tyrone does a great job with Payton's hair and Payton really does not mind much until Tyrone works on the "tape line." I think that tickles him just a bit.

12. According to our home scale, Payton weighs a whopping 18 lbs. Okay, so maybe that is not so whopping, but he is growing!

13. Payton eats and eats! His favorite these days is tofu, no joke! He goes crazy for the stuff. My Aunt Linda suggested giving him some to up his protein consumption and pack on a few more lbs onto this little man, and sure enough, it worked. All I have to do is cube it up and he chows down. In addition, Payton enjoys all of his fruit and veggies, either mashed on cut into managable pieces. Of course, his other fav is nature promise "Os".

14. Payton has 8 teeth!!!!! WOW. He looks more and more like a little boy every day.

15. Payton loves to clap and wave these days. He has discovered that he can totally manipulate adults into copying him. Hysterical. As we walk down the grocery store aisles, he waves to total stranger...and most of the time they wave back. Then he claps! He also claps to ANY music. It makes him so happy!

16. Payton has started biting me. So far, he only bites me. I want him to stop! I usually just sit him down when he does it to let him know that it is wrong and he will not get attention for it.

17. Payton is exhibiting more and more signs of stranger anxiety. He is friendly from a distance, but as soon as they touch him or reach for him, he pouts, waits about 15 seconds and then reaches and squeals for me or Wes. I hope he is not hurting too many feelings.

18. Here's a pics of Payton's first birthday party (at home- we really celebrated on Saturday)!!!

For Payton's actual birthday-day, I cut a block of tofu and put a candle in it! Yum, right? He also came home to several cards in the mail from family members and balloons on the mailbox from his grandma! What a special boy!
You are the most special boy and we love you more than you could ever imagine. You make our hearts smile each day when you laugh and grin and dance. May you always be so full of life and always make the world a little better with your love and laughter. You are our miracle, our dream come true and we will always love you. God bless you, Pate!
MumMum and Daddy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not What I Expected...

I've been a little emotional these last few days as I think about Payton's upcoming first birthday and his Gotcha Day and what happened during these days just one year ago. Many nights this week I have held him and rocked him, trying to soak up every moment and allowing those tears of joy to slide down my cheek and onto his precious little head nestled in the crook of my neck. How could this one little life change me so much and light up our home and our lives in the way he has?

In so many ways, this past year has not panned out to be the year I thought it would at 259 pm on Sept. 15, 2008. I was in the throws of the adoption roller coaster emotions. We had just made the decision to switch agencies and I was back in paper chase mode and feeling "in control" again. As many adoptive parents know, the waiting phase often gives one a sense of helplessness, so this brief reprieve was welcomed. While I was appreciating the excitement of a new agency and trying to quickly get everything they needed, I had also resigned myself to the fact that it was highly unlikely that we would be placed with a child before winter (at the very earliest) because we were "starting over." In fact, just that morning Wes contacted the agency and they informed us that it would be three-six weeks before we would be active. I know I have said it before, but I am a realist and very rarely see the best case scenario, just the worst case, so I could not even comprehend what was about to happen.

But at 3pm, our world changed forever.

I had just left a meeting with the athletic director at our school and was rushing to change into cross country practice clothes when my phone vibrated. (I ALWAYS left my phone on vibrate at work during this whole process, fearing I would miss THE call.) I figured it was the head coach, Sue, calling me about practice, but it wasn't... it was our agency. Better yet, it was Jill from our agency and I knew Jill worked with first mothers. I was standing in between two rows of desks, speechless, as Jill explained that a brave mother had decided to make an adoption plan for her baby and that the doctors needed to induce labor immediately. Jill wanted permission to show our profile to her before her induction. To do that, we needed to review the non-identifying info and send her our signatures via fax. I asked he how long we had and she said about 30 minutes. What? I knew Wes was on the football field coaching and I was supposed to be a practice (don't worry... the head coach was there and the kids were supervised while all of these phone calls were happening, so I was legally okay). But I wondered, how would we a) get the info and b) get our decision to back to her within the allotted time. Finally, the info was faxed to my MIL Judy, who brought it to me at practice. I then called Wes and asked him to come to my practice location to see the paperwork. Wes and I reviewed the case, said a quick prayer. We were game for this one! In between all of this, I called my mom to tell her what was happening. I just was EXPLODING with excitement, even though I knew this first mother was also reviewing other potential adoptive parent profiles, and had to tell someone. We prayed together. IN contrast to my usual attitude and pessimism, it just felt like this baby-to-be was the one. I was right.

I spent the remaining practice time in a fog and pondering the fact that I could me a mom to a precious baby boy or girl within the next few hours. Mind blowing. Athletes told me about their injuries or their times etc, and I tried to focus, but I just couldn't. While the head coach knew of our adoption journey, my students and athletes had no clue (or so I thought). But as the kids were finishing up their strides and completing their ab exercise, one of the team members turned to me and said, "How is the adoption process going?" Ummmm..... let me think on this one. I responded with, "It's going." The kids went home and Sue (the head coach who also happens to be quite a dear friend after working together for the last four years) and I spent a few minutes discussing what had happened over the course of the last two hours. As she stepped into her car, I do remember her saying, "you might need to go to Target tonight to get some baby gear, and you should probably get some sleep." While I was excited, I wasn't wholly convinced enough to go buy every baby item we needed until we received confirmation that this baby was, indeed, the baby that would be in our home and raised in our family and cuddled in my arms. Around 9 pm, Jill called again to tell us that C (the first mom) had decided to wait until the morning to make her decision and review the profiles and she would call us in the morning to tell us about C's decision. How was I going to sleep? I wasn't. I didn't sleep much at all and spent so much of that night in prayer asking God to protect C, to give her strength, to guide her decisions, to give all of the waiting families peace, and most importantly, to help this precious new life entering the world to make a safe arrival. I repeated the same prayer over and over, trying to distance myself from the selfish prayer of "God, please let this one be the one because it is what I want." I wanted this placement, this baby, our families, to play out in His grand scheme, knowing that God's heart desires the best for me (and C, and Wes, and Payton...), even more than what I could want for my own self.

As it turned out, that was my last day as a non-Mama. That was certainly not what I expected on September 15, 2008.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adoption is Natural

My usual September sinus infection has once again come to visit me. Blech. I went to the doctor right away since the symptoms for the common cold, sinus infections, reg. flu, and swine flu are pretty much the same. I explained that I was worried about Payton catching it and since he has asthma it could be bad. So, for my sanity, the doc ran a strep test (I told him I did not need this one, but he wanted to do it anyway... doctors get weirded out by my huge tonsils...tmi, right.) and a h1n1 test, and both were negative. Now I can rest in peace that I am not (at least for now) infecting my child with the nastiness I brought home from school. From our earlier conversation, he knew Payton was adopted and so he wanted to know if I was planning on having kids of my own (I guess he was trying to find out if I was using bc pills or if we were infertile). But for once, I did not have to correct him... he figured it out himself. I think I gave him the "please-don't-make-me-give-you-a-lecture" look. He then said, "Oh, I meant, biological children." I said,"I hope to adopt again, but that it is a little overwhelming to think of starting all of the paperwork and emotional roller coasters again." He said, "you know, the natural way is much more simple, although a little more painful." This comment seemed so strange to me. To me, adoption IS natural. I think his comment would really upset some people. Then he reminded me that bc pills and antibiotics don't work well together. Thanks, doc, for a really strange visit.

"The Day We Adopted You"

If we had to do it again,

adoption is what we would choose.

We got more than we could hope for

the day we adopted you.

For you have given us more in life

Than we could ever want or need

You made our house into a home

And made us feel complete.

We love you more than life itself

For all the things you say and do

And if we had to do it all again,

You'd be the only one we'd choose.

-Author Unkown

We LOVE our Payton!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Pony

Well, she isn't actually a pony. She's a horse.

Yes, I am serious, even after all of the ordeal of Sawyer... we've added another one... THANKS to Heidi and Mom. I was out riding Daisy one evening (she has been my therapist as I have mourned the loss of Sawyer) and Heidi rode over to ask me if I saw the mare she got off the trailer earlier in the day.

"No," I said. "Why?"
"Well, she is really cute. And well, she yours... I mean... if you want her."
"Seriously. Um, I think so, I mean, what is she? Should I talk to Wes?"
"An appendix mare, 14 mos., cute"
"Oh, no need to talk to Wes, we are, thanks, thanks a ton."

And now there is a cute little appendix mare out in my front field. I have done a little work with her in the round pen and we are working on her feet. The farrier did the front end, now on to the back feet. She is so sweet, and a love bug. Fitting, as the name she came with was BUG. She is from the Fabulous Punch (TB) line and should finish out big enough for Wes and I to both ride her. I am looking forward to being able to work with her more next summer. For now, we will stick with ground work.

As for "show" names, what do you think...

Punch Bug
Love Bug

Or any suggestions...

A Weekend at SML

Too much pool...
Every time we put Payton in the River Rat, he fell asleep. Somehow, I just don't think it is a viable option to put him in the River Rat at 4 am when he wakes up to get him back to sleep. (He keeps waking up around 4 lately... and we give in and put him in our bed so that we can all get some sleep... you might say that Wes and I are the anti-co sleepers nightmare these nights.)

More snoozin' in the River Rat. (Aunt Sue, the RR was a great investment!)

Payton in his life jacket for the first time. He didn't mind at all...

Can we say "T.R.O.U.B.L.E."

Sunset on the Lake!

Ahhhhh.... it has been so nice to chill at the lake and enjoy the beauty. This was a total last minute vacation, but we needed it so badly! We were able to get a studio condo for two nights at a place with a pool and a lake beach. Perfect. The whole trip...gas, food, lodging, etc... was only $200! Awesome deal! We are pondering making this an annual K-K family trip. It is just nice to be forced to do nothing sometimes. Tonite we are going to enjoy our complimentary dinner at the restaurant and then enjoy a stroll along the nature trail before turning in for the evening.