Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pictures At One

Sydney at age one

Daddy at age one

Mommy at age one

Mommy at age one

Daddy at age one

And last, but not least,
Braden and Brock at one!

Can you guess which is which?

I'll put the answer in the comment section...

Did you guess right? Even we couldn't tell them apart when we were looking at the photos after the shoot today! We are starting to think they are identical more and more every day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Until She's Home

Our application for adoption was accepted by our agency last week and we will turn our signed contracts in tomorrow. I am not sure what the next step(s) after that will be, most likely the home study. But, as we have done all of this before, I feel this will all be somewhat fast tracked similar to a review or a "freshening" of what we did before. Since we have added to more children to the family since the home study was done, I am sure some of it will need to be redone. The home our social worker "studied" is now a little different than it was two years ago.
Now that we have finally started the process, I am anxious to get the ball rolling. I know it is going to take a long time, but I feel the need to "do something." Even if only to get "it" going. I know how much paperwork there is. I know how long the road is. I am just ready to start the journey. My daughter, our daughter, is out there somewhere just waiting for us to come get her and bring her home. I lay awake at night just wondering where she is and who is holding her. Who is feeding her. Who is singing to her. Is anyone picking her up and cuddling her when she cries? These are the thoughts that keep me awake long past the time that I should be sleeping. I know I can't allow these thoughts free reign in my mind for the next three years because they will absolutely take over, but they are there just the same. I don't know why God placed this unquenchable desire in my heart or this undeniable knowledge that we have a daughter somewhere in another country that we have to bring home, but we do. And I cannot, will not, stop until she is here with her family at home where she belongs. And if I have sleepless nights along the way, then that is part of the journey for me. Until she's home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Line in the Sand

The lovely dinner I labored over today died a quick death after a mere three minutes in my newly "fixed" oven. And so the war rages on. I texted my oven guy at home after this latest assault in my kitchen and told him about my line in the sand. He said he'd call his guy and they'd see what they could do. I'll tell them what they can do...

In other news, Brock has a new word, "No." Well, technically, it's no, no, no with a little giggle. Because he thinks it's really funny. This from the kid who will lay prostrate on the ground if you even come one decibel too close to a harsh sound with the word 'no.' He is so incredibly sensitive. But for whatever reason if you say no, no, no in a sing song voice he thinks it's just hilarious and will copy you immediately. I found this out when he discovered he could stand up in the back of the double stroller yesterday and I didn't want to scare him with the sharp 'no' so I used the sweet one and he thought it was too funny. I will try to video it in the near future and then try to figure out how to get a video on blogger again. I am so blogger illiterate it's not even funny. I tried to post those pictures from yesterday again today and still not working. And I really can post pictures when it is working. It's just not right to have things not working for someone who already has a tough time figuring things out in the first place. It's just plain mean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The War

I have been embroiled in a fierce war for the last seven months give or take- with my oven. And so far it is winning. We have had a brief detente at times, but just when I least expect it, or when it matters most, it strikes a most devastating and swift blow.

Case in point, Christmas eve- I prepared my breakfast delicacy long after every else was asleep to rise overnight in preparation for the oven in the morning. Christmas morning arrives, everyone awakes, I place the dish in the oven and three minutes later everyone rushes to the kitchen to see what is on fire. I have tried to display a picture below for documentation purposes, however, blogger is not working at the moment so I will try later, so check back for the photo evidence.

This is not some rinky dink broke down old oven. This is a brand new top of the line Viking range. It has two separate ovens, one big and one small, for cooking foods at different temperatures. It has four gas burners on the top and a built-in grill (which I don't really like because it's kinda smoky when you use it even with the ventilation system). This thing cost way more than my first two cars PUT TOGETHER! I did not pick out this oven. It came with the house when we bought it. I would not have picked out this oven. I like the ones that go in the wall because the babies cannot reach them and I think they are safer. Apparently they are also better. This one sucks.

The service people that are specially trained by the "Viking" people have been out SIX times. SIX times. And it is still not fixed. It burns everything that goes in it. Within minutes. At first they blamed it on the factory not calibrating it to the correct altitude we are at and that's why it was burning stuff. Then they replaced the thermostat on it. Next they "rigged" it so it didn't get as hot so quickly. They told me they had tried everything they could think of to make it work. Then they hired someone new two weeks ago and sent him to try to fix it. He came last week and said it needed a new computer board or some such nonsense. So he came today and finally replaced that. Maybe it's fixed this time. I am honestly scared to try anything more time consuming than slice and bake cookies because I don't want to waste anymore of my time making something that will just burn in three minutes anyway.

If this doesn't fix it, I am done. Just done. They are going to replace it with a new oven. From a different company. I don't want another product from their company ever again. And they better not give me any guff about it either. I have been way beyond patient. And if it takes a long time, they are reimbursing me for my restaurant costs. I have to be able to feed my family! Enough is enough. This is beyond ridiculous. Not to mention my need to bake. It is how I deal with stress and cope with loss. Losing Matthew six weeks ago was very traumatic and I have not been able to process it the way I needed to through baking. It has not been good for my psyche. These are the rantings of a woman who desperately needs her oven at all times.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let's Party!

We finally had the big party for the bubbas tonight. A little late due to the unscheduled appearance of a tummy bug for Braden. Boy, was he an unwelcome party guest. And he did not bring a nice present. I sure wish we could have returned that one. At least, he only brought one for Braden, and not Brock.
We had to move their party from Friday night to Sunday night because the poor little guy was just not up for eating much more than "O's" and certainly not has first taste of cake (pictures to follow.) One cool thing to report from this first encounter with a tummy bug- he said his first complete sentence.
On Thursday night, Braden had a yucky diaper and I changed it a little too quickly. Because he had another one about a minute later. As I prepared him to change that one, he looked up at me in distress and proceeded to spew like a fountain from his mouth as he was laying down on the changing table. He had it in his ears, his hair, his head was lying in a pool of it. Poor little guy. I hadn't let him eat or drink anything other than pedialyte all day until about thirty minutes prior when I finally gave in to his pathetic begging and allowed him to have some "O's" and a few pieces of his siblings' banana. And about three ounces of milk. Big mistake. And just for good measure-he had some more for his diaper at the same time. My hand was on his tummy during this incident and I could just feel the little war going on inside. Poor baby. Immediately, big sister Sydney and I jumped into action (Tony was in surgery, of course.) She ran for the boys' room to get pajamas, towel, and bathwash. I cleaned off the yuck diaper and as much of the vomit as was possible and then held him at arms length as I carried him to the sink in the kitchen. I used the sprayer to hose him off as best I could and then Sydney was back with reinforcements. She even brought her favorite Boots the Monkey bath toy to entertain him. She's so thoughtful. I carefully and gently got the banana chunks and O's out of his hair and ears and then washed him down. I got him rinsed and dried quick as I could and into his diaper and jammies. Then I offered him his cup of pedialyte thinking he might want to rinse that awful taste from his mouth and he just looked up and me and said, "All done, Mama." My poor, poor little baby boy. He was just done. Sweet little guy.

Tonight they were all better and ready to celebrate their first birthday. We had our closest friends over for a little cake and singing. They loved their balloons. They liked their presents. But they really loved their cake.
Brock's First Bite of Cake (Icing)

Braden Digging In With Gusto
The Boys Having A Big Time With Cake

Someone Took My Cake Away! NOOOOO!!!
Can You Believe It? How Dare They? Don't They Know It's Our Birthday?
We're Still in Shock and We're Not Gonna Smile
Now It's Bathtime


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And The Journey Continues

The catalyst for this blog (or rather its precursor "http://fillmorekyrg.blogspot.com/") was the start of the journey to adopt our daughter in Asia. I will not get into much detail about that part of our family's story here, but if you are interested in the history, I encourage you to read the previous blog; it is a part of my life that is very dear to me and, at times, is very raw and difficult to read, but it has made me into the woman and mother I am today and for that I would not give up a single part of it. All that being said, today, our journey begins anew.

We are finally able to start the process to bring our daughter home- from China.

According to Chinese adoption laws, the youngest child in your house must be at least 12 months of age before you can begin the adoption process for their country. That happy day is today. We have much to celebrate today; the anniversary of the birth of our beautiful, healthy sons and the day we can finally officially begin the process to bring their little sister home.

January 6th will forever be a very special date for our family.

We are expecting the entire process to take about three years from today. Sydney will be seven. Brock and Braden will be four. And we are hoping their little sister will be between two and three years old.

We have waited a long time for this day to come. Sometimes it seems as though I have waited over half my life. The road to Kyrgyzstan was an interesting side road along the way and I found some lifetime friends on that path. I would not give up that detour for anything. It was worth its weight in gold to me. You know who you are. While on that path, I felt for sure it was where I was supposed to be. It just felt right. And the day I found out we were pregnant, that felt right, too. I heard God's voice clearly calling us to add two more children to our family at that time. Without one doubt that is what I heard. It was His voice. No doubt. I knew we could adopt and have the baby.

The day I found out there were two babies...was the most bittersweet moment of my life.

I knew it meant letting go of the child of my heart. The one I had dreamed of for so long. So many years. So many dreams. Just when she was within my reach...I had to let her go. I had to let her go. It was like when I lost Jonathan all over again, only this time, I couldn't tell anyone because God had given me two healthy babies to care for and to love. I didn't know how to grieve the loss of the child of my heart, while growing to love the babies in my womb. Boy was I mixed up! Put with that a double helping of pregnancy hormone...man, I don't know how anyone could stand to be near me! Luckily, I was throwing up between 7 and 10 times a day, so not many were! The first time I remember actually smiling and being happy about the babies was around week 13, or so. I felt immense relief when I heard two healthy heartbeats, but actual happiness, came later I think. Remembering these thoughts now, when I have known my sweet Brock and Braden for a year, makes me feel incredible guilt that I ever felt anything like this at all. But these are my true, real feelings. And if I have learned anything from my dear friend in the last five weeks, if you're ever going to free yourself from the pain and the guilt, you have to own up to it. That takes away hold or power the devil may have over you. And I don't want him to ever have any weapons against me again. He has had enough of those in the past. God has made me a new creature, a strong one who fights against the evil one. And I will not back down again.

So our journey begins anew. When our name is at the top of the waiting list...her name will be at the top of the waiting list. And she will finally come home. Home. To her mother's waiting arms at last. We're coming, baby, we're coming.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year With Twins

The last twelve months have been a very interesting window into a part of human life that many do not ever get invited to be a part of: the world of twins. Being the mother of two babies at the same time is an experience that no one, other than another mother of twins, could possibly understand.
In the beginning, when you find out there are two people growing inside your body, you are filled both with awe and fear. Awe that you could be chosen to have this remarkable gift of two children bestowed upon you at the same time. Wonder at the mysticism of the world you are about to join.
And all consuming fear. Fear that you alone are responsible for the protecting the two lives that are growing inside you. Fear that you surely are not the right person for this honor, surely a mistake was made somewhere. Knowing what it was like carrying for one infant and being absolutely terrified that there is no way you could possibly handle two at the same time. Fearing that maybe, just maybe, God made a mistake.
And then the sickness sets in. You can't even handle the one child you already have and you wonder how on earth you could possibly handle two more.
Then you hear them. Two heartbeats. At the same time. And just for a moment, everything stops. Nobody moves, nobody speaks, nobody breaths. It is just you, and Them. For the very first time. And you think, maybe, just maybe, this is. I can do this. These are my babies. My babies. I have two babies. And they have two heartbeats. Surely this is from God.
Then one day like magic, the sickness turns off like a faucet. The sun comes out again. I start to feel them move inside me. Not like their sister did, in little flutters. More like, a set of choreographed movements within me. One will move left, the other will move right. They are already wrestling each other inside me, much like Jacob did with Esau.
Finally, we got to see their blurry little faces. What would they look like? Were they beautiful little girls or handsome little boys? I really didn't even want to know anything this day beyond the words: they are both healthy. And they were. So perfect. Absolutely perfect. What joy filled my heart this day. As tears of joy streamed down my cheeks, tears of despair poured from their sister. She wanted sisters. Not "brudders." I had to let her grandmothers handle that one for me because I was no help once I learned of their health. I was an absolute blubbering mess. I was too busy praising my Father for the gift of two perfect healthy sons.
Not long after this joyous (for some) day, we learned it would be best for me and the boys for me to be on "modified" bed rest. What this actually means for a mother of a three year old is still up for debate. But thanks to good friends, a great husband, and an extraordinary housekeeper, it was made completely doable. And I'd do it all again in a second if it meant giving my sons a chance to stay in my womb and grow longer. As it turned out, we needed every single day of that bed rest. We made weekly, sometimes twice weekly, trips to L&D over the next two months to stop labor and by the grace of God our sons were able to grow an extra seven weeks. Praise be to God. I will never stop praising Him for that priceless gift.
We made to week 34 and on January 6 at 9:11 pm both Braden and Brock made their entrance into the world. We had a bit of a rough beginning, but after 18 days in the NICU, we finally brought them home.
Things were tough those first couple of weeks at home. No sleep. Feeding, pumping, burping, diapering, bathing, putting to sleep, soothing, all times two. It was hard. We had some wonderful help. It was still hard. We had to sleep in shifts. Tony and I did not sleep in the same bed until the twins were four months old. It was just too complicated. One of us had to keep the babies, while the other one tried to "catch up" on sleep missed from the night before. And if Tony was on call...forget it.
We were really just in survival mode until one day something just didn't seem right. Something was wrong. And I mean very wrong. With Braden. His coloring was off. And it was getting worse. He had been home for two and half weeks, so we were just getting to know him, but something wasn't right. And if it weren't for having his brother right next to him to compare him to, we might have missed it. Who knows? Lesson one for parents of twins- you will compare them to each other and sometimes it's absolutely necessary. Braden had hemolytic anemia. He was admitted to the hospital where he received a blood transfusion at 2:00 in the morning. That was the number one most terrifying moment of my life to date. I did not ever want to go through anything like that ever again.
One week later. Brock was admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion to treat hemolytic anemia. Lesson two for parents of twins- when one gets sick, the other will almost always get it. Not that this was contagious or anything, just a good lesson for parents of twins to learn regardless.
Since then, the drama has been dialed down considerably- thank you to God. Normal lumps, bumps, fevers, ears, etc. Teeth have been a pain, but getting better. We are learning how to corral them a little better now that they are crawling. But they do seem to encourage each other's escapes and escapades. Braden will see Brock take off down the hall or vice versa and will promptly take pursuit. They really are starting to be quite fun. I will try to post some video if I can ever figure out how.
Their first birthday is on Wednesday and I just cannot believe a year has already gone by when it seems like only yesterday there were times I would count minutes. Thank you, Father, for the most precious gift of my sons. I cherish them. Both of them.