Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Kids Plus a Dog

Or should that be a dog plus two kids?  Because technically, the dog was around first.  Bella has been apart of our family for over four years, we can't imagine life without her.  She is an incredibly loyal and obedient dog, thanks to all the hard work Eric put into training her.

But when the boys were scheduled to come home, we got just a little nervous.  We knew she wouldn't hurt the boys, we were just not sure how she would react to the diminished amount of attention.  Thankfully, she has been awesome.  She just loves the boys so much and could lick their faces all day long if we would let her.  And the boys love her too.  They are always trying to touch her, and now Baxter makes attempts to climb her.  And she just sits there, letting him do his thing.

So here's to Bella, a really great dog.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Student & Momma

I am nearing the end of my third week of the winter semester, and so far, I am not drowning.  I was a little nervous, because I am taking a higher level math class than I had wanted (and I am a bit mathematically challenged), but this was all that was available.  I had my first exam this week.  I feel like I did okay, but will not find out my grade until Monday or Tuesday.  That should be a true indicator of how I'll do the rest of the semester.  All of the homework is at home, with notes and can be done as many times as you want until you're happy with your grade.  But exams are taken on campus at the testing center, so there are no notes.  Just you, your mechanical pencil and calculator.

I am planning on taking "in seat" classes during the summer semester.  Both my mother and mother-in-law have days free during the summer, so they each are going to watch the boys one day a week while I'm in class.  I am very excited to take something other than an online class.  I have discovered that I don't like online classes.  I learn a lot from the small anecdotes given my professors, but with online classes, you just read a textbook.  I know a lot of people prefer online, but it's just not for me.

After this semester, I will be half way done with my associates degree (as I type this, I am thinking, "ugh!  only half way!").  Yes, I am married with two children but lack my associates degree.  I thought my plan was smart when I graduated high school, but obviously think differently now.  So now here I am, attending class with the fresh-out-of-high-school students who gasp when they find out I'm married.  I think I may cause some to faint if they realize I have two children.  I try not to let those types of comments discourage me.  I am going to obtain a college degree, even if I'm 30 when it happens.

Until that day, nap time will be spent doing homework.  And just think, my kids may even be able to help me with mine ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seeing the Finish Line

You'd think that after 11 months of paperwork, that once the boys finally arrived home, it would be done.  Sadly, this isn't true.  There is still paperwork to be done after the boys come home.  First, I had to send our agency photos of the boys within the first week of getting home, then I applied for their Michigan birth certificates, which came in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  Once I had the birth certificate, I was able to apply for their social security numbers that came in the mail this past Friday.  Today, Eric mailed their applications for a Certificate of Citizenship.  I don't know how long it will take to get these.  Hopefully not terribly long.

As soon as we get their Citizenship Certificate, then I can go back to the Social Security office to change their status from legal aliens to actual citizens.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when paperwork officially ends.  But we still have to send our agency photos every 3 months for the first year, and we will be getting post placement reports done 6 and 12 months after the boys came home.  Post placement reports are when your social worker comes over and observes the kids to see if they are adjusting to their new home and attaching to you as parents.  I am not worried about these, it's just another thing to remember to do.

So truthfully, paperwork and to dos don't actually end until one year after the child comes home.  Well, that's how it goes for the Congo.  It could be shorter or longer, depending on the country the child was adopted from.

But we're making progress.  I'm just glad we got their SS numbers so we can claim them on our taxes!   Woot for new and big deductions :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thirfting Baby Clothes

When you adopt, the ability to purchase clothes over time really doesn't exist.  You never know how big they are or what sizes will be needed in which seasons.  So, when Eric and I were given a weeks notice of the boys' arrival, I basically had to spend almost every day buying clothes.  Thankfully, while we were in the Congo I made a point to check the size of the clothes they were wearing.  This made it a lot easier to know what to get.

I do not splurge on anything really.  I am very capable of spending a lot of money, but if I do, I want to get a ton of stuff.  I have never been able to buy the $100 purse or shoes.  I knew that I would never wear or use it because I wanted to keep it nice, therefore defeating the purpose of buying it.  So when it came to clothes that children wear for such a short amount of time, I couldn't bring myself to spend $20 on a pair of pants or $15 on a shirt.  And with two boys, I had a lot to buy.

Instead of hitting up Gymboree, Children's Place and Baby Gap, I spent lots of time at Valueland, and Once Upon a Child.  Thankfully, Eric was very supportive of this idea of thrifted clothes, which made it a lot easier. 

The only downside to this method is that you may find something in a size you don't need, or there just might not be a lot of good finds in the size you're looking for.  I'll admit, Eric had to veto a couple of the items I bought and most of what I purchased is pretty basic (I have lots of solid thermals).  But there are some finds that are just great.  Here are a few of my favorites...

But please, don't get me wrong, I did buy all of their socks and white onesies new, their winter coats (I couldn't find their sizes used), and I couldn't resist a couple of hoodies at Target.  Plus, they wear a lot of new clothes that were given to them after coming home.  Buying new clothes is sometimes necessary and it's always really fun.  I just couldn't bring myself to spends hundreds of dollars on clothes that they would grow out of in a matter of weeks.  And I plan on purchasing the majority of their clothes used until they are a bit older, and don't grow out of things as quickly.  Until then, I spend my free nights popping into thrift stores, and if I'm lucky, I find something me for too ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Clothe Diapering

 It's becoming more popular, but still, not many women choose to use clothe diapers for their children.  I won't lie, disposable are definitely easier.  But for us, the cost and statistics of just how many disposable diapers make it to landfills every year prompted us to choose the more inconvenient route.

So far, it's been pretty good.  The number of loads of laundry I do has significantly increased, but that should go down as the boy get a little older.  It's less convenient when you have to change your child on the go.  Thank goodness for wet bags.  But it's totally different than it was 18 years ago when I was changing my brothers' clothe diapers. 

Yes, there are still tri-fold clothe diapers, but no more safety pins.  And there is a huge variety that look just like disposable diapers.  All-in-one diapers, all-in-two diapers, Flip diapers, Bum Genius diapers, I could go on and on.  Thankfully there are women right here in GR who know a lot more than me, and a store that offers everything I could ever need when it comes to clothe diapering.  Hopscotch ( is a local store near Eastown that has a large variety of clothe diapers, as well as locally made toys and clothes. There are even free classes available on clothe diapering, "wearing your baby," breastfeeding, baby sign language, etc.

Eric and I use the Flip diapers, which are a one-size-fits-all diaper, so we don't have to worry that the boys are different sizes.  The Flip is a cover that holds an insert, which is what catches the pee/poop.  There are different kinds of inserts for different needs (like a heavy wetter or light wetter).  And since everything is separate, you can add things at different times.  For example, now that both boys are sleeping through the night, just a normal insta-dry insert won't do.  They wet through every night.  So, I went to Hopscotch and picked up a couple of all-around clothe diapers.  I put an insert inside of these, and then my Flip cover on the outside.  So far, we haven't had any leaks through the night.  The only thing with bedtime diapers is that they are huge.  Here is Atticus with the three layers of diapers on, before his pj's.  Yeah, pretty disproportionate to his size, but he doesn't wet through!

Now, I know clothe diapering is not for everyone.  And I don't have any problems with the families who choose disposables.  We actually keep a pack of disposable on hand just in case we have an exceptionally dirty day, and the laundry can't be done fast enough.  This is just the choice we made for our family, and even though it's difficult and inconvenient most of the time, I'm glad we made it.

If anyone has any questions, just let me know.  I would really like to help.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Many Faces of Baxter

This is going to be an image-heavy post.  The other day, the boys were playing nicely so I decided to snap a few photos.  This was at the beginning of the "photo shoot."

Baxter was very interested in the camera and kept making faces.  He is a very active kid, so I had to take advantage of his contentment.  Here are some of the faces I was able to catch on camera.

Meanwhile, this is Atticus' reaction to what was going on.  He wasn't as interested as Baxter, but I still had to snap a few because it was just so funny :)

Well, there you have it.  This is what happens when you combine a bored 6 month old, a camera-loving 8 month old, and a mom that is making an effort to use her camera a lot more. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Daddy & His Boys

Throughout this entire process, but especially since the boys have been home, Eric has been completely amazing.  He is barely able to get out of the door in the morning, and races into the house to see them after work.  The boys just absolutely love him.  They both light up as soon as he walks into the door.  But above his love, and affection for them, he has been beyond willing to give me time to myself.  He encourages me to make plans and do things while he stays home and cares for the boys.  And as a major bonus, he gets up at night with them quite a bit.

I am married to a truly amazing man.  I don't know how I would manage without him.  So in honor of Eric, here are some photos of him with his boys :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Over the last two weeks, we have experienced a lot of firsts with the boys.  They have both slept through the night (woohoo!), Baxter now pulls himself up, he crawls, Atticus is eating cereal and I ventured out on an errand by myself with both of them!

I am trying to film or photograph as much as possible, but I think I would have to spend more time holding the camera than my children if I wanted to capture everything.  But here are a few things I did manage to get of these firsts.

Baxter stood up in his crib.

One of the first times Baxter crawled (I made this video for their Aunt Hannah who lives in LA).

Atticus' first time eating cereal.

Monday, January 3, 2011


As I said in my last post, things are going great, but tears are still a common occurrence each day.  So, I thought I would be open and honest, and post some of the photos that have captured the not-so-happy moments.


In spite of all of the tears, I am been just so happy to have the boys home.  Some days are worse than others, but I have been able to handle everything so far.  A big stress reliever is Eric.  He has been so amazing over the last month.  He is incredibly willing to help and constantly offers to put the boys down at night so I can go and do something with my friends.  And he also gets up with the boys throughout the night.  I couldn't ask for a better teammate. 

It's going so well, that when we have friends and family offer to pick stuff up for us, or run errands, I feel bad for turning down their offer.  Being new parents is definitely not easy, but in the same breath, it's not overwhelming us too much.  I am a very independent person, but can ask for help, especially in situations like these.  Only I don't feel like I am in need of someone to come and wash my dishes for me.  So far, I have been able to keep up with the house cleaning and grocery shopping.  It is more challenging to find the time and coordinate with Eric when I can go, but it's not impossible.

Honestly, the biggest help we have received were the numerous dinners that were brought to us the first several weeks of being home.  I truly believe that my stress level would be off the charts had I been responsible for dinners from day one.  What a HUGE blessing it was.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout this journey, in every way, shape and form.  We love you all.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I know I have been saying that the boys are doing well, but I thought I'd post some pictures to prove it.  But let me clarify, even though we are doing good doesn't mean that no tears are shed, because that would be a lie.

Here are some photos I snapped while attempting to put laundry away.

Our friends Chris and Steve came over, and thought that a family portrait for themselves was necessary.

Our friends from Tennessee are in town and my in-laws snapped a few photo.  They have a 13 month old daughter names Emery.

And finally, a common sight around our house these days.