Monday, September 27, 2010

Thankful (and pics)

89. Surviving two days of business travel on our own.

90. Delicious steak dinner with my husband after the girls went to bed.

91. Hadley snuggles.

92. Fast healing.

93. Great weight check! Hadley=13 pounds 8 ounces, Brynne=14 pounds 8 ounces

94. Leisurely Saturday afternoon drive with my husband while the girls napped.

95. Rainy morning nap.

96. Crisp fall weather.

97. Brynne's giggles.
98. Three amazing years of marriage to the love of my life (on Wednesday).

99. Little girl dresses and Babylegs!

100. Upside down girls.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thankful (and some pictures)

77.  Playdate with the Bain twins.

78.  Discovering that the girls are not allergic to strawberries.

79.  Taking Hadley and Brynne to watch their papa play baseball.

80.  Fun at the ballpark cheering for Dad!

81.  Bountiful sweet potato harvest.

82.  Amazing sunflower seed harvest.

83.  Never ending tomato harvest.

84.  Thunderstorms.

85.  Swinging at the park.

86.  Walks with friends.

87.  Discovering Hadley's love for kiwi.

88.  Finding out that both girls love mango and raspberries.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shellfish, here we come!

So, our girls like peanut butter--a lot.

What?! Peanut butter?! They are only seven months old. Yes, I know. Believe me, I was a nervous wreck about it. I waited to let them try it when my husband was home, so that if I needed to give one a tracheotomy with a ball point pen and a kitchen knife, he would be around to dial 911, and watch the other one.

Friday we were in the pediatrician's office for a weight check. While we were there, I talked with her about food allergies. My husband has some food allergies, so I had been very cautious about introducing foods to our daughters. She said that emerging research suggests that children have a lower incidence of food allergies if they are exposed to highly allergic foods between the ages of six and eight months while being breastfed. She said that my breastmilk gives them antibodies to combat allergic reactions. She recommended throwing eggs, peanuts, strawberries and shellfish at them, as well as anything else that I've been so careful to avoid

Now, I have definitely not been in agreement with my pediatrician on several points. I quickly learned that, while she did breastfeed her own children, she doesn't know a whole lot about it, and often would give me information appropriate for a formula fed, not a breastfed baby. Fortunately, I have a lactation consultant, a great friend who is breastfeeding, Baby Center, and to support me in my endeavors to breastfeed our twins, and relied on those resources for breastfeeding related questions/concerns. On the whole food allergy front, though, I feel confident that she knows what she's talking about.

So, we took the plunge. Peanut butter and bananas were a hit. I'm still waiting a few days between introducing new foods. I'd like to keep track of what they've had, so that if some sort of reaction does occur, I can pinpoint the cause. Whew! One huge common food allergy averted. Now, on to shellfish!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adopted Parenting Perspective

My heart ached Friday night as I heard my daughter crying through the phone. She missed me, and couldn't settle herself down enough to sleep. Despite my notes detailing our evening routine, the lack of a nursing session left a gaping hole in the familiarity of bedtime, and she just couldn't get beyond that. Her world had been disrupted; she was sad. Fortunately, once my friend put on one of my shirts, the familiar smell of her mama was enough to help her relax and fall asleep.

I am proud and humbled to be able to say that I have helped many families adopt internationally. My job is (I still do a bit of contract work) to both interview and educate adoptive parents, before and after their children come home. This instance has given me empathy for the parents and a great appreciation for the struggles that these children go through to get here; they are, indeed, survivors.

My daughter had one uncomfortable evening, in the morning I was there to nurse her, and snuggle with her; all was right with the world again. These children get their whole world rocked; nothing is familiar--smells, sounds, routine, textures, language, tastes are all new and different. They have to grieve the loss of all of that they knew and also discover a brand new "familiar". That's hard enough, but many of these children are plucked from their homeland when they are six, seven, eight months old--smack dab in the middle of a time when, developmentally, most children struggle with separation/stranger anxiety, some of what my daughter struggling with Friday night. If you have biological children, you have probably had a taste of how challenging separation/stranger anxiety can be. It's heartbreaking--maybe you have a story similar to mine to tell. We are lucky, in that, we can still incorporate some of the familiar to ease the blow of mama's absence.

Don't get me wrong, I am passionate about international adoption; I love helping people to build their families and want to grow my own family through adoption someday. Part of the educating that I do for adoptive parents is to talk through the grieving their child will do--grieving the loss of country, caretakers they've formed attachments to, language, familiar sights, smells, etc. I did this instruction as a childless woman for years, educated, of course, in child development, and international adoption issues; however, I had no first hand experience of any of this. Now that I know how my daughter struggled through one evening without her mama to put her to bed-- woah--my eyes have been opened. I can empathize with parents who have a child who is grieving--genuinely and authentically, having had just a small taste of that gut-wrenching sorrow for my own child's sadness. I also have a whole new lens through which to view the struggle an internationally adopted child has. These kids are tough and resilient. May it enrich your life to know one, they have had an amazing journey.

**A huge thank you to my friend and her mom for spending Friday with our girls, while we were away. Thank you for snuggling, wiping away tears, bouncing, rocking, walking, consoling, and for taking the same care of Brynne and Hadley that you would take with your own children. I love you.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Thankful and wordless weekend

60. Two hour family naptime--heavenly!

61. Gorgeous weather.

62. My mama coming to help me out while Brad was away on business.

63. Clean floors, because of my mama.

64. Clean sheets, because of my mama.

65. Clean windows, because of my mama.

66. A freezer full of baby food, because of my mama.

67. Enjoying a glass of wine on the deck with my husband.

68. Getting to hear most of the sermon at church on Sunday.

69. Enjoying a dinner with new friends.

70. Eating delicious tomatoes from our garden.

71. Going almost seven months without any breastfeeding issues.

72. We were able to get rid of my clogged milk duct/milk blister without getting mastitis--blessed pain relief!

73. Seven month old girls sitting up for a few minutes unassisted--woo hoo!

74. Grandparents galore.

75. Awesome afternoon playing outside with the girls.

76. Time to pull weeds in the garden.