I seriously cannot believe that my little girl is two. She used to just lay in my arms and give me the squinty eyed smile. Now she pulls my hair, tells me "no" and is the most adorable thing I think I could ever have imagined. I am too tired to go into much detail, because I will cry. Already starting to tear up... Anyway, she has been the best part of the last two years of my life. I cannot WAIT to see more. I love her so much!
Some of the fun things she does now that she is two (cue tiny fingers trying to make the peace sign, and maybe using the other hand to keep the three unwanted fingers down):
- She loves her mammy: we kiss, we hug, we cuddle EVERY morning.
- She loves her daddy: she runs to him when he gets home and asks for him ALWAYS.
- She reads books, colors pictures, plays with dolls, puzzles and her kitchen.
- She can mostly entertain herself, but there are times when she definitely wants your attention. Usually the hitting to the chest and yelling of your name makes that pretty obvious.
- She has funny sayings. "Wha dat soun?" "Up, pease." "Tinkle, tinkle, ittle sta." "Bess you." "Tank you." "You're welcome." "Cuse me."
- She makes almost EVERY animal sound I can think of. The horse (neh), the alligator (snap), and the elephant (a sound she makes that I can't even write out) are my favorite.
- She is super friendly. She is strong and brave. She keeps her routine really well.
- Overall, she is just a great kiddo. Mu-ah!!
Here are some pictures of her birthday week. Grandma and Grandpa Thye visited as you will see.
Okay. I keep feeling like God is putting people in my path. And it is not the I just happened to them at the grocery store and they said something odd that made me think kind of thing. It is the 5 million steps that have to all be perfectly in place for the outcome to work out kind of thing. Like the story I mentioned earlier about getting back in touch with Molly.
Anyway,Josh and I took a little break from the initial adoption hype to work out some details. And whoa, are there a lot of details... While on our little get away without Madelyn (the cruise and then a two week Europe trip with the AZ Ambassadors) we were able to get a clearer vision of what adopting looked like for us in the future. Really we just decided that we would start on our home study as soon as possible. So this week I pulled out some paperwork to read over and started making some calls.
Meanwhile I was also getting ready to go to Rockford, IL (where I am now) for a client's wedding. I did her older sister's wedding in Scottsdale last fall and fell in love with this family. Apparently they loved me too because they decided to treat me to four days in Illinois AND pay my fees instead of hiring someone from Chicago. I was super flattered, and very lucky to be here with them. Anyway, the two sisters/brides that I have worked with have an older sister in law named Sara Beth. She is a doll!! This is where the cool story come in...
I had a dream last week that had something to do with Sara Beth being pregnant. Now, those of you who know me well, know I have dreams. Some dreams are just dreams, but some are from God. And we all know when I have one of "those" dreams. They are so vivid I just can't let them go. I know they mean something. Some times it is crystal clear to me and sometimes it is foggy but I know I have to ask questions. That was how this dream about Sara Beth was. Not crystal clear, but I knew it had to do with a baby.
So today when I was with Noma (family friend who is helping me out for the weekend) I asked her if Sara Beth was pregnant. She asked me why. I told her about the dream. Luckily Noma believes in God and the power of dreams and didn't think I was a psyco weirdo. She said I should ask Phoebe (MOB) about it. It seemed like a sore issue and I didn't want to rain on Anna's parade by bringing something like that up. Nor did I know Sara Beth well enough to even feel comfortable asking about her. So I temporarily dropped it.
But tonight at the pizza party the whole family was there and I started to catch up with Ellen, bride number one. She asked about my daughter and I gushed over all the ridiculously adorable things she is doing right now. And then she asks the question EVERY single person asks. Are we going to have more. I love Ellen, so I tell her about Josh and I starting the adoption process. She mentions she has also thought about adopting. Then we get distracted by other people, as often happens at parties.
But later on in the evening Sara Beth finds me and says she would like to talk to me. Apparently Ellen mentioned off the cuff that I was thinking about adopting. So we sit and she tells me the they just got their papers to start their home study. She has a 3 year old, and went through some similar situations that I went through to have Madelyn. Honestly, I think ALL people who try as hard as Sara Beth and I have tried to have kids should be given a gold star on all adoption paperwork. Needless to say, she tried more fertility treatments than I would have had the heart for, and then was blessed with a non fertility related pregnancy that gave her sweet Charlotte. Since then however, things have not worked and she is looking forward to adoption. So that part of the conversation was just fun and encouraging. She is a very strong, REAL girl. Someone who loves Jesus but isn't afraid to tell him when she is mad about life. Someone who can scream, cry, and then laugh. A girl after my own heart. So I was feeling very encouraged by her story and happy that I have a new adoption friend to go on this journey with. (As you all know from my IVF story line, I collect people. I guess I have a big enough mouth that everyone knows my business. Luckily I am a good listener and confidant. Plus, I make friends easy. So I have lots of circles. Adoption is my new one. :o)
After talking about life as we knew it, I asked about the fun part. Where she is headed with all the adoption stuff. Then she dropped the real bomb. One I think was God ordained. The whole reason we were meant to talk this evening. She tells me that she is working with the amazing agency that has all these amazing qualities. She lists them, but I am too tired to get in to what they are, why they are attractive, and what not. But the point is, they are the same things I find attractive in an adoption agency. So now my interest is peaked. She tells me the biggest reason she feel in love with them though is because they are located in her home town, Fort Worth.
Those of you who know adoptions know that there is travel involved. The biggest trip being after the baby is born. You need to travel to that city and stay for two weeks until your paperwork is all approved. Plane tickets, hotel, food, all that stuff adds up. So you can imagine my thrill when I tell her that my in-laws live in Forth Worth and I had no idea there was an agency like the ones I had been looking at in other states, in a state where I would actually want to travel to. A place where I could bring my daughter. A place where I would have a house to stay in. With real food and appliances. And family to surround us. This is a HUGE DEAL. I was so thankful that I was there, in that house, making a friend of Sara Beth and learning one of the most comforting things I could have learned about.
So that is it. My story. I totally get excited about this stuff. I called my hubby right away. And of course my in-laws. I wanted to share my cool God story, but they should also know that I plan on using them for the above stated purpose. And of course, they are thrilled to pieces over it.
I am naming this post "Cruise 2011" because I am going to go on more cruises. That is a fact! I had so much fun on this vacation that I am still pretty giddy just reliving moments, looking at pictures, telling friends. No joke, best vacation ever! And I have had some really cool vacations. There is just something about a cruise that really appealed to little 'ol me. First of all, everything is so laid back. And besides drinks, everything was paid for. So it was like no hassle, super easy vacation. And you can't go wrong visiting some of the most beautiful places on the planet. I mean really? These islands are just magical... I am totally going back. And you should come with us. I am serious! You will thank me. Here are some highlights from our cruise vacation and then a slide show at the end. Enjoy!
Day 1: Travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico Read part one of the Hunger Games series. Amazing! Watched "The Hangover" on the plane. Loaded onto the ship, Serenade of the Seas. Explored a bit. Got dressed for dinner with some fun new friends. Ron, Wendy, Wes and Karen from Houston and Mel and Mark from Melbourne, Australia. Our dinner mates the first night.
Day 2: Spent the entire day at sea. Got hot stone massages in the morning. Laid by the pool, read some good reads, drank some good drinks. Went to yoga class on the deck that overlooked the front of the ship. Very zen. Laid out/read some more while Josh ran the outdoor track. Got dressed for our first formal night on the ship. Went to the Captain's Reception before dinner, danced a little. Went to the musical show after dinner.
Day 3: Barbados Went to Harrison's Cave Saw monkeys and other animals at the Animal Preserve. Ate a Barbados classic, flying fish, at a local restaurant. Swam with sea turtles, and snorkeled a ship wreck. Josh touched the ship. Scary! Went to another show before dinner.
Day 4: St. Lucia Did a zip line tour of the rain forest canopy. Visited a beautiful beach. Shopped in town a bit. Josh drank the local beer, Piton, named after the Piton Mountains. He liked it. Saw a magic show before dinner. Went to a dancing under the stars event after dinner. Danced our butts off!! Ate at the midnight buffet after our dancing extravaganza.
Day 5: Antigua Slept in. Yay! Caught a taxi/tour for only 20 bucks with four other couples. One from Egypt on their honeymoon. Very cool people! Visited all things revolving around Sir Horatio Nelson including the famed Nelson's Dockyard. Spent the reaming afternoon at a local beach that had the cutest little hut cafe and staff. They are famous for having 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, but I liked this one. Went to another show before dinner. Participated in a game show after dinner.
Day 6: St. Maarten Shopped in the morning for about an hour and then hung at the beach the rest of the day. Loved this chill day! And the beach was amazing! A quite find that a local told us about. Second Formal Night Went to a Love and Marriage Game Show that was really funny after dinner.
Day 7: St. Croix Went on an ATV tour of the island. Rested in the Solarium the rest of the day. One last show and then off to bed.
Day 8: San Juan, Puerto Rico Visited the Casa Blanca church and walked the wall that surrounded Old San Juan. Shopped. Traveled home...
Yesterday we took M to gymnastics for the first time. We figured she needed something fun to do when it was hot outside, plus the girl could use some coordination! She loved the class! Miss K is so good with the kids and the little routines they do were really fun. M loved it so much that she threw a huge fit when we left. That has never happened. We can usually say, "Say good bye to the zoo." Or, "Say good bye to the park." And no fit ensues. She simply says, "Bye, bye." And is off to the car for her snack. Not true with gymnastics. The girl was into it! I am very happy that she likes it. It will be a great summer activity!
Madelyn has been so cute lately. Seriously so cute!! I wish I had a reality TV show just so I could capture everything she does. It's all the little things that are gone in a flash that I wish I had on tape. But then I would look like an idiot half the time and Josh and I would end up divorced. So I will settle for these snap shots taken via the flip cam. Enjoy!
I bought her some summer clothes. So we were half trying on new clothes and half watching Yo Gabba Gabba (or Gabda, Gabda as M would say). Plus, she would not take her glasses off. It is pitch dark outside by the way.
Usually M sleeps really well. She has not always been a good sleeper but I feel pretty lucky that we have been able to get her down and stay asleep pretty well for the last year and change.
Here is our usual sleep pattern:
8:00- We tell M it is time to go "ni-night". We pick her up. We give hugs and kisses good night. We lay her down, shut the door, and she goes to sleep. She wakes up around 7:30-8:00am.
Our new sleep pattern:
8:00- We tell M it is time to go night night. She screams "no" and runs away from us. We pick her up and tell her to give kisses. She screams "no" and struggles to get free of our arms. We put her in her cribs and she continues to scream. We shut the door.
8:10- M is still screaming. To the point where she can hardly breathe. Either Josh or I go in to the room and pick her up to try and calm her down. She points to the door and tells us she wants to go "out". We just rock her and eventually she lays her head on our shoulder. We put her back down. She starts to cry.
8:20- Her little cry has turned into a scream again and now she is snotting all over the place and again struggling to breathe. One of us goes in and tries to calm her down. Usually the second time around is more successful. She cries when we lay her in the crib. We rub her hair and she falls asleep.
8:30- She is finally asleep. She sleeps until about 7:00, if not earlier.
So what do I do? She is very calm in our arms after a few seconds. She obviously wants to leave the room and play but we stay in the room and hold her and she is fine. The minute we put her down she is not happy. Is this normal? How do I break her of the screaming until she gets what she wants habit?
I am super excited about April. Not only is this my favorite time of year (sun, heat, happiness), but it is also the month that Josh and I officially start on what I am sure will be a very cool journey.
Here is a little bit of the back story to what I am going to tell you. We conceived Madelyn through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in November of 2008 after 3 years of trying and treatments. We used 3 embryos to get her and had 7 left over for future babies. At the start of this year we decided to use those embryos for another pregnancy. Unfortunately all seven embryos were unsuccessful.
Those are the brief facts. My feelings on the situation? Sad. I knew I wanted to have more kids. Madelyn has been such an incredible blessing in our life that I just couldn't wait to have more sassy bags of trouble running around my house. But Josh and I weren't quite sure how to move forward. We quickly narrowed our choices down to the two choices we were faced with in May of 2008. We could either adopt or go through IVF.
Those of you who walked the past journey with me knew I didn't have a good experience with the adoption lawyer we consulted with. I never felt comfortable with her and therefore was not feeling very comfortable with the idea of adoption. However, this time my mind keeps wandering back to adoption. Obviously I am NOT go with that particular agency, but I wasn't sure where to start. This is when things get pretty cool.
In the fall I was reconnected to an old friend named Molly through facebook. She went to my (huge) church and did a Holy Yoga class that I had been involved in every semester but the fall semester she was a part of it. I contacted her and asked if she was going to do the class in the spring because I would love to see her. She signed up and so we got to have a pretty cool conversation before yoga class started one day in January. During that conversation I told Molly that we started IVF again and she said they were adopting again, after having two adopted angels at home. They are so much fun! Anyway, after that initial conversation I did not see Molly for a few weeks. Once she did come back to class she had her newest little guy with her. But then I never saw her at class again.
After we found out our IVF was not successful and I knew I wanted to find out more about adoption, I contacted Molly to see if I could talk to her. I went to her house last night. M played with her kids, I got to hold her little boy, and we talked about my feelings and her family's story. It was a very powerful hour. I left her house feeling like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. All my left over fears about adoption from the first pass at it had gone away and I was on to more positive thoughts. I had what I considered to be a game plan and a new friend to lean on for understanding and guidance. The whole process just didn't feel so overwhelming any more. And too bad Molly was there the whole time because I might have just stolen her baby boy from her. He is serious so precious. He just melted into my arms and was so relaxed the whole time Molly and I chatted. In fact, he smiled at me the minute I said hello. And yeah, that pretty much does it for me.
Once I was in the car driving home Molly called me and gave me some good advice. She said that I should go home and write down what had happened that day. She said that when you adopt you don't have doctor's appointments, blood work, ultra sounds, any of that. So you have to celebrate every little thing along the way. Yesterday was huge for me. I have wanted to adopt for a long time. I just got scared off the first time I pursued it. And I think God had other plans for me. But this time I was not comfortable with any other option. And I knew I wanted to grow our family. So adoption has now become the path for us. Who knows where the Lord may lead, but for now I wanted to make sure that kid knows that I am already praying and looking forward to the day that I can hold them in my arms. I may not be growing them inside of me, but there is a child out there who God has meant for our family. We don't know when or where they will come to us but we will document the experience of getting him or her just the same. Can you see why I am so excited??
So now for some answers to questions you may be thinking and commentary on what I am anticipating from the last time Josh and I went through this process.
1. Why not IVF again?
This is a question that many people have already asked. I will tell you that I would never, in a million years, give up the experience I had getting pregnant with Madelyn. I am actually very grateful to have been able to experience being pregnant and giving birth to a child that is half Josh and half myself. However, I was not very happy along the way. And I not sure many people even know to what extent it was hard for me to function during those years. I was constantly going to the doctor for one procedure after another. I was being pumped with pills, and shots that contained drugs that messed with my body and emotions, sometimes to the point that I felt like I need to be institutionalized. And again, I am not joking or even being dramatic. These are facts. I have said on multiple occasions that I would have out of body experiences. I would see my self doing things that were not cool. Acting in ways that were not appropriate, but I could not stop myself from doing them even though I knew I was acting crazy. And now that I am out of that craziness I am embarrassed about not being able to handle my emotions for years. Plus, when I was pregnant I was very sick and my body did not respond well to anything. I ended up 73 pounds gained, with pre-eclampsia, a c-section, and a baby in the NICU. NONE of those things were as glorious as I though they were going to be when I mourned not being able to get pregnant naturally. So the thought of going through all of that all over again just feels like too much to handle. And to be honest, seems entirely unnecessary. I did it once. And there are kids out there that need homes. So, if it saves me the doctor appointments, drugs/needles, 73 pounds and uncontrollable emotions, I am totally down for it.
2. Do I think I will love my adopted baby as much as Madelyn?
This is a fair question, and one that I have gotten only once. But thought it was good enough to share. Of course the answer is yes. In fact I was telling my mom that I love my friends kids so much that I would be happy to take any of them if ever I needed too. And I am serious. There were 9 babies born just the summer I had Madelyn. More before and even more since then. I have watched these kids grow up, and even though they are not my blood I can't stand it when they get sick or even hurt themselves on the play ground. I love them! So if given a child who God has entrusted to me to raise, I have no doubt that I will love them as much as any other kid I love.
3. For people who are not sure what to say...
Then my advice is to not say anything at all. Just give hugs, encourage us, pray for us, or meet me for yogurt. I don't care. Just don't feel obligated to have some fancy words of wisdom. And I am not being smart here I am just being sincere. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask about what is going on and just listen. When we were going through stuff the first time people would say the dumbest things. The fact is, we all have different perspectives and beliefs. And when you throw emotions into the game things can just get out of hand. Comments are misinterpreted and relationships get strained. So unless you really feel led to say something, don't. Let me give you an applicable example for this time around. When Josh and I were deciding between IVF and adoption the first time, a number of people would tell me stories about so and so who filled about adoption papers and then got pregnant. Or so and so adopted a number of kids and then got pregnant. Whatever the story was, the message was always the same, but I felt very strongly about two things. One, I didn't feel it was fair to whatever child we adopted if I was just going through the motions so that I may become pregnant with my own child. That didn't sit right. I wanted that child to know that we specifically wanted to adopt them. We were not hoping for someone else. Secondly, it made me feel as if everything I was doing to try to get pregnant was seen as unnecessary to whoever was telling me that story. If they truly felt that I could just be one of those people who filled out paper work/adopted a few kids and then become pregnant, that they didn't believe the very real things that were wrong with Josh and I. Like were just putting ourselves through craziness for nothing. I am positive that none of these things were meant by the people who were telling the story. But I hope you can see why I think saying nothing sometimes is better than making someone who already feels bad about a situation, feel worse. And please don't feel like you can't talk about this with me. You all know that I am a talker. I guess I just don't want to hear that maybe God didn't want us to have this or that. Or that I am not trusting Him. Or that I just need to have more faith. Or that I should just stop thinking about it or do nothing and something will pop into my lap. I would rather hear that you love me, support me, and pray for me. Sorry if I am too sassy...
4. So, how can we pray for you?
I am a worrier and I read into everything. I hate this about myself. But it is true. So here are some of my worries. I just ask that God allows me to release these.
- I worry that people won't love my kid like I do. It makes me worry when people ask if I think I will love my adopted kid the same as my "real" kid. Does that mean they see "real" and "adopted" as different? I see kids as blessings from God. Little people that we get to raise and love for a short time in the span of eternity. These kids are not mine, but have been entrusted to me and my care. But I freak a little when people talk about "real" versus "adopted". I don't want my kids to ever think I love one more than the other. I could care less about labels. I just hope everyone can feel the same way.
- I worry about the money. But more than that I worry about the anger that goes along with having to pay thousands of dollars to have a family when other people just shack up and boom. I went through this the first time with the IVF. In fact, one of the biggest reasons we chose IVF was because is was, slightly, cheaper. I just have a hard time knowing that I don;t have a retirement because I save my money for kids. Or that I don't get to do things other people get to do because I am saving money for kids. This is INCREDIBLY selfish I know. Believe me, I know. And I KNOW that God has blessed Josh and I. I really do know all this. But I can get really bitter about this every now and then. So I just ask that God helps me though that.
- I worry about more heartache. I can't tell you how many negative pregnancy tests I have taken. It makes my mind swirl just to try and think about that. All those months that I put in so much time, effort and money only to get disappointed. It just broke my heart over and over again. And to be honest, the pain was more than I could bear some nights. So, I just ask that God is present through any failures that might occur. Actually I ask that God protects me from whatever failures could be. I can pray specifically right? I feel like I am a strong person, but I might be a couple heart breaks from complete devastation. God knows what is best. But I can pray that everything goes perfectly. And then He can fill in the blanks...
- I do not worry about Josh. He is so level headed it makes me crazy. Ha! He does not want me to worry about any of the things listed above. He doesn't care about money and he is fairly certain that everyone will love our kids the way we do. However, he does not want to see me hurt any more. He doesn't want be hurt any more. He asks me all the time how I am doing. He very rarely tells me what he is thinking. He did say to me last night that he is excited to see me excited. So just pray that Josh and I can always be open and honest through this entire process.
5. Do you need anything?
Actually we do not right now. I know I just asked for prayers. And some people I have asked to just send over all adoption info they have, but I want to make sure we do not get overwhelmed with the whole process. So if we need something I will be sure to ask. Promise!
Okay. I know I am kind of all over the place. But I think that is pretty normal. Maybe not. Who cares? It is pretty apparent that I am not normal. And there is way too much going through my mind right now. Plus, when I get excited about something I just get chatty. So all and all, here's to our new little one, wherever they are. Let the journey begin!
The fam went to Texas for Spring Break. We had to see little Tayten of course! And it was so fun to see the entire extended family while we were there too. However, getting there was a bit of an experience.
The flight over consisted of two legs. Phoenix to Salt Lake and Salt Lake to Dallas with a 45 minute layover. Not too bad until M woke up that morning sick to her little stomach. She threw up on Josh and I 22 times. I counted. Mostly on me as she wanted to cuddle with mommy the whole time. I actually got pretty good at reading the signs right before she let loose. However, by that time the throw up was mostly liquid. So catching it was difficult to say the least. I actually arrived in Texas with dried throw up all over me. And smelled fantastic!
After a day of diarrhea and minor throwing up we decided to take her to the ER. It was 4am AZ time. So I was exhausted. But from what I can remember, the doctor said she had rotovirus (not sure if that is spelled right). Lucky for me it is only transferred orally and fecally. So I did not get it. I guess I washed my hands enough... She ended up being pretty normal after that appointment. Rotovirus goes quickly through the system. But it was scary.
Other than that, we actually had a great time. Went to the Children's Museum, a Dallas Stars game, had lunch with Meikka, Carson and Leah, went to the zoo, and then dinner at Uncle Tom's and Aunt Diana's with Brooke, Haley, Lexi, and Ashley. Madelyn loved those girls! She could care less for playing with kids her own age. But those girls were the highlight of her day for sure. I wish I had that interaction on video. So funny!
It has been WAY too long since I have last posted. I have been the worst blogger mommy the past three months. I am so sorry M (and those of you who actually follow this blog. Ha!) But here is a well, not so brief update.
December flew by. Between my clients and Josh's band competing in the Fiesta Bowl, we ended 2010 with our heads in a fog. Promising each other that we won't do that again next December since we barely got to enjoy Christmas. Good thing Josh's parents and grandparents came to visit so we had a reason/excuse to not work as hard. We had a ton of fun with them. We went to the band competition, the boys went to the Insight Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, and the girls went shopping. Most of all we just hung out as a family It was fun! Here are some pictures of the visit.
Here is M opening her first gift on Christmas Eve:
And here is M kissing grandpa:
Start to a new year. Life is good!
For Ari's birthday, we took her to As You Wish to paint pottery. She is a VERY good artist. So this was the perfect gift. While there Madelyn got to paint her birthday plate. Now she has a special plate to eat her cake off of every year!
My little vocalist:
Being a goof ball:
Well, you already know we started February with a new niece. That was super exciting. We are actually flying to see her next week. Yay!! M said Tayten almost immediately. But of course I couldn't get it on video. So here she is kissing and saying hi to her.
I was also trilled when M put her shoes on for the first time all be herself. Again, this never happens on video. But this was pretty funny. Warning: nudity.
And her all time most annoying/most promising thing to do, play piano.
And some pics.
Well, that's the last three months in a nutshell. I feel like our little girl is growing up so fast. And she is so much fun to be around. I guess I am just loving being with her more than blogging. Yep. I can blame it on that. :o)
I have no clue. Just kidding. I know what we have been up to but it will just make me head spin to recap it all. In all, life is good and 2011 is shaping up to be a great year!
That being said, I am writing to announce that we have a new niece. Tayten Faith Thye was born yesterday 2.1.11, 7 pounds, 12 oz, 19 inches long. She is adorable, and I am a little partial to babies being born on the first of the month! In fact, I found it really hard not to be there to bombard Hillary and Jake with hugs and kisses (mainly because I want to hold that baby!) And of course I am so happy for Jake and Hill. I can't wait until Mad, Josh and I get to visit in March. It will be a nice trip. And M needs to learn that mommy can hold other babies or we are going to have issues around here!
So here's to my new little niece. I pray you stay as perfect and precious as you are today. Love you!!