Thursday, January 31, 2008

New post & photos

New post and photos -- Dr.'s Appointment -- at Matthew's site.

ONE is FUN!
I'm LOVING one! First, we are on our way to saying "Buh-bye Bottles" and "Forget you, Formula!" Second, Matthew is facing forward in his car seat now and what a difference that makes! This busy boy is much happier being able to see where he is going. And, since I usually do a running commentary as we travel, it makes it easier to talk about what is going on..for example "Do you see all the cars and trucks we are passing because mama is driving fast?" Just kidding! And third, and most importantly, it is such great fun watching his little personality blossom! Like tonight we cooked dinner together (him on the floor) and it was fun to watch him follow my instructions (photos at Matthew's site).

shirt - too small, socks - too big, face - too messy
boy - too cute!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reminder...

I've posted about this sweet family before but wanted to remind you to visit their blog, read their story, ooh and ahh over their precious baby, and lift them in prayer.

A little dirt never hurt...

Photos by Smooch from her visit:
Matthew playing in our completely unlandscaped back yard!
It's like one big dirtbox (instead of a sandbox)
I asked Matthew "where is the sun?" and he tried showing me!
If I smile really cute maybe mama will let me put this rock in my mouth
Cleaned up and dirt free!
We had Matthew's doctor's appt today so I will post about that tomorrow. Right now I am busy going through all the adoption receipts for our taxes. I'm almost giddy at the fun of it all. Giddy? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Before and After


August 2007

January 2008
Some days Matthew still looks like a baby to me, but the times are getting more frequent when he looks toddler-ish. I am excited to go to his dr.'s appt tomorrow to offically check his height and weight...and his percentages on the charts. He really looks "long and lean" when he's only wearing a diaper. I cropped out his legs in the bottom picture for his privacy but, in the original, they look long and thin!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New post & photos

New posts & photos -- Birthday Party & More Party Photos -- at Matthew's site

This photo didn't quite make the cut for Matthew's site, but Smooch and I think it is so funny that I had to post it. When I opened a bag to look at the toys inside, Matthew hunched down so that he could see too...and Smooch caught it in this photo. Besides Matthew's posture and expression being funny, this picture shows that his negligent mama needs to buy the poor child some new clothes (notice the too-short sleeves and peek-a-boo belly!). Either he is growing too fast or my laundry skills need improving.

Perhaps being 1 makes the learning speed up even more because just since his birthday Matthew has started standing on his own more, holding his phone up to his ear (something he was not even interested in before), etc. Even his receptive language, while previously awesome, seems to have exploded as he responds to commands and questions. Last night he was feeding his plastic chicken with his spoon! Very cute!

On a SAD, SAD, SAD note, Smooch left this morning. We were totally bummed that we could not bribe her to blow off her last semester of college and her full-time job to stay here and play with us every day. You can read this with the gushing of a big sister: It was sooooo wonderful to have Stefanie here! Even little Mr. Unsociable absolutely adored Smooch. She was the biggest help...especially when Scott woke up very sick on Matthew's birthday. But besides her assistance with absolutely everything, it was just great fun to stay up late giggling every night!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Prayers for America

New intercessions for week 5 are listed at my new site

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New post & photos


New post & photos -- Matthew's Dedication -- at Matthew's site

Friday, January 25, 2008

Matthew's 1st Birthday--Mama's perspective

photos by Smooch

laying his head on SMooch's shoulder
hangin' with Smooch

One of the birthday photos I posted on Matthew's site...the one where Matthew is standing next to the big caterpillar...made him look like such a big boy! Our baby days are headin' into the sunset! Having Matthew join our family when he was already 6 1/2 months has made the time go so quickly, but I know we were very fortunate to bring him home at such an early age. This morning I asked him to get a diaper for me, and he crawled over to the dresser, pulled himself up, opened the door, and reached in for a diaper! Soooo big!
Of course as most adoptive mothers probably do, I thought about Matthew's birthmom yesterday and wondered if she was thinking of him. I wondered how much different his life would be today if he had been able to stay with his birthfamily.
Taking Matthew to play at the mall was really fun! It was strange in the play area though because I was the only parent sitting on the floor, so all the other kids flocked to me. One tiny girl was hanging on me while her mom chatted on the cell phone. I finally picked her up and she promptly stuck her hand down my shirt and said "booby!" I quickly put her down. Even though Matthew was the youngest baby there, he was the stoutest of the bunch! While on the carousel I was trying to get a good photo of him...but my memory card was full, so after each bad shot I had to review and delete! This proved to be difficult to do with one hand since I was holding Matthew on his horse with the other hand. On top of it I was riding backward...and getting crazy dizzy! We had a great time in the jumping castle, and it was funny to see him tentatively crawling around until he got comfortable.

On another note, Matthew's aunt SMOOCH is here!!!! He loves her...she knows just how to make him laugh. I am "making" her hold him, feed him, play with him so that he gets used to hangin' out with someone other than his mama. Basically, she bought a plane ticket to come and babysit. It is fun to have her here because we are a lot alike...in the important things...such as this morning we baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then pan was still sitting on the counter when we were ready to bake cookies after lunch. Smooch asked "would it be offensive to you if I just used this same pan?" My reply was that of course she could...maybe the icing drippings would re-melt onto the cookies.......there's nothing like sugar on sugar! And there's nothing like sisters!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New post and photos

New post and photos -- Happy 1st Birthday!! -- at matthew's site!

I'll share the mama's persepective in tomorrow's post!

New post and photos


New post and photos -- "1st Birthday Photoshoot" --are on Matthew's site. This was a highly unprofessional photoshoot which included my camera, an old sheet, some bribing with snacks, and a lot of crying (by me). I'll post photos from his birthday tonight after we have lots of birthday fun today!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An "Extreme" Answer to Prayer


I have always liked the Extreme Makeover Home Show on TV. Aside from all the nuttiness, in the end someone is blessed with a super cool house. And so about 2 years ago I started praying that I would have the opportunity to help out with one of the houses. In my mind I figured I would travel to the location, throw on a tool belt, and hammer some nails. I think I even sent an email to the show asking how to help, but I didn't get a response. Eventually...since the results didn't come lightning quick...I just stopped praying. But God did not forget.

The night I returned from Illinois, Scott told me that the Extreme Makeover show was here...in our city!!! So I contacted them and was given volunteering instructions. Upon arriving I signed up in the volunteer tent and was instructed to wait outside for someone to come get the volunteers. I decided to go back to the car and get my coat and, when I returned, the other volunteers were already gone! I had missed the cattle call! So I stood in front of the tent wondering how long til another group would go when I spotted two guys getting into a golf cart. I went over and said "Hey you look official...can you tell me where I can help out?" One of the dudes said "Well, do you have any experience working in a restaurant?" I smiled and replied, "yes." (When I decided to get my MA degree, I started working in restaurant service/mgmt and loved it!) And he said, "Great, you can work in the catering tent!"


Mr. Official led me to the catering tent and then disappeared. No instructions given. I didn't care...I was totally in my element serving and helping and cleaning. And I just kept laughing thinking about how God put me in the exact place He wanted me to be. Before I went home I walked to the construction site and was amazed! The workers reminded me of an ant colony...working so quickly, efficiently, and in harmony. It was an inspiring thing to see! The whole experience seemed lop-sided because I was blessed so much more than I helped out!!!

A small thing? Yes. But that is the point. God cares about the small details of our lives just as He does the big ones. Sometimes it is easy to go to Him about finances or illnesses but not about finding a good babysitter for Friday night or the right gift for your best friend's birthday. So talk to Him...I know He will answer...and you will be blessed.

Advice from the Doctor

Some random photos of Matthew watching his sign language video


OK...so I had my annual exam today. Sidenote: You know how there are "touchless car washes?" Well, I have the "touchless gynocologist." Seriously, he is the greatest and, if you didn't walk out of the office with a receipt, you wouldn't even know you had just had an exam. If you are in my area, I highly recommend him. Anyway, on to the real topic! The Dr. asked how our sleep is with a new baby in the house. HAHA! He obviously hasn't been reading my blog. I explained a little bit of Matthew's crazy sleeping patterns, and he told me to TURN OFF THE MONITOR! He said that if we can hear him from our room when he cries, we don't need to be awaken by his stirrings and night play. This was good news to me since I often lay awake listening to see how long Matthew stays awake. BTW, the good Dr. also has a baby Matthew's age and, of course, he sleeps through the night 12 hours straight!

I want to pass on to all you moms, college students, nightowls, etc. that he also reminded me that sleep deprivation is a huge factor in stress, anxiety, and depression. He recommends getting up and going to bed at approximately the same times every day (at least within an hour)...including weekends. This schedule is true for eating, too. He said to eat at regular times every day even if you aren't hungry.

And the best part of the visit was that he told me to eat more ice cream! Isn't that great?!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Matthew's "Initiation into Manhood"...and 3 experiences I hope never to repeat

Here is a video of Matthew's "Initiation into Manhood" as he receives the ol' towel snap from Daddy. From his reaction, I think he and his Daddy are going to have a lot of fun at the expense of my kitchen towels. No Matthews were harmed in the making of this video.

3 EXPERIENCES I HOPE NEVER TO REPEAT:

1. The stomach drop that you feel when you are in the shower and you realize that you put the baby down for a nap in just a diaper (and in a borrowed play yard in your sister's bedroom)...and then going into the room to find the baby awake...standing up... and NAKED! Diaper on the floor. And it's dirty.

2. Sitting in an AMTRAK dining car across from a nice gentleman who is explaining the lucrative field of "packaging science" to you while your baby shreds the white paper tablecloth that needs to last through the entire dinner session. You try to maintain eye contact and nod occasionally to show interest while franctically in your mind and calmly in your actions you struggle to minimize the damage. The man stops talking about packaging science long enough to note that your baby "sure is a handful." Retreat to sleeping car.

3. Needing to use the 3'X3' dirty train bathroom with an 11 month old baby who is all hands. Enough said.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Prayers for America

New intercessions for week 4 are listed at my new site

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Please visit this blog...

I was going to post about some funny travel experiences, but I just came across a blog post that is much more important than anything I have to say right now. Please check out this site written by a man named Nathan who is deeply in love with God, his wife Tricia who has cystic fibrosis, and his new baby girl Gwyneth who was born at 1.6 oz. I encourage you to check out the older posts and watch through 3D Ultrasound as little Gywneth's body is being formed while in the womb...as well as to be inspired by this young couple's faith and to lift them up in prayer.

Here is an excerpt from one of Nathan's posts:
I prayed this morning at Tricia's bed, holding her left hand with tears in my eyes. I expressed to God that I will accept anything He chooses for Tricia in the next few hours and days if He would allow just one person to understand and accept Him as their Savior. I don't like the idea of making deals with God, but I needed a sign that He is God. Less than two hours later, a woman posted on Andy's Blog that she was finally "understanding" and "accepting" Jesus as her Savior. My God is the awesome God.

Found my USB cord!

Matthew and Scruffy
The gang
The tall and short of it
Thirsty boy

Some photos from our trip....

with Theresa U of I booty
A smooch from Smooch
Matthew & Grandma Garner
With Deena

Friday, January 18, 2008

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face...

Because I have Matthew's 1st birthday on my mind...and since I can't post any of my new photos w/out my USB cord...I thought I'd share the very first video we received of him! Our referral came with 3 precious photos and this sweet video.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We're Back!

1. ACK! Look how close the baby on the ticker is to the caterpillar's nose! I better get some birthday plans goin'!

2. Funny moment - Matthew and I were sitting in the train lounge when a dude came in with a sandwich and bag of chips. As soon as he walked through the door Matthew started smiling and pointing at him. Then the poor guy made the mistake of sitting near us. That's when Matthew broke out his "more" sign and went to town. He just kept staring at the guy and frantically signing for more of his lunch. The guy wasn't too excited about Matthew's attention, so we had to leave the lounge.

3. Feels so good - As wonderful as it is to spend time with my family, after a 22 hour train ride not much feels better than my husband's arms and my own pillow. Matthew was happy to be home and to check out all of his stuff. He got a little wiggy at dinner...probably from being overtired and the excitement of coming home....and he was double fisting the "more" sign for everything on the table. Before I could even get a bite into his mouth he was already signing for more. It was on the verge of nutty. Needless to say, he went to bed early. +++++This morning Matthew woke up, looked around his room, pointed to his toys and started clapping!

4. My family has a dog (who likes to bark) and now when you ask Matthew what we say to the dog, he shakes his head 'NO!" They also have an unsocial cat who stayed in the laundry room the entire time we visited. At one point Matthew and I opened the door to the laundry room only to have the cat hiss at us....and Matthew responded by saying "oh, oh, oh!"

5. Matthew was doing pretty well at walking with his walking toys before we left but, after being carried everywhere on our trip, he isn't interested in walking now at home. Scott said we should tell him that he really needs to "apply himself more"....too funny!

6. OOOOOOPS! I think I left my camera cord at my mom's....so photos may not be up until I get a new one. BUMMER.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Headed home

Matthew and I leave today to travel home...much to Grandma's dismay and Daddy's delight! Should post new photos tomorrow night or Friday morning!!!! We've got some cute ones! Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers during our trip!

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Post and Photos

new post and photos at Matthews Site

New Prayers for America

New intercessions for week 3 are listed at my new site

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We are Family!

Cousins (minus seven cousins and three second cousins!)
Me and my baby sister "Smooch"
Lots of kissing goin' on

In 2000 I moved across country...away from my family. I've missed birthdays and graduations...ball games and dance recitals...ups and downs...and growing up and growing older. And whenever I come back to visit I realize the thing I have missed most is simply family.
Tonight we had a get together...lots of food, hugs, and laughter...with highlights of leg wrestling,
"cousins" photo shoots, and Texas sheet cake with sprinkles! What a wonderful family that Matthew has become part of...he is dearly loved by them all. And I dearly love them all.

More Family Photos

What strong back muscles you have!
Sweet Jacob! Sweet Zachary!
Me with the twins...wishing I was their triplet because they are so awesome!

More family photos

Hangin' with Uncle David Kiss-Your-Belly
Matthew being held by Samantha instead of mama -- Hooray!
Leg wrestling!!!!!!!!!
Sweet smile by Emily!
Cousins!

Friday, January 11, 2008

UPdate

We're here in Illinois...so posts are on the back burner. Trying to get pictures of Matthew to post at a later time. He is doing well...handles the dog fine and is getting much better at letting other people hold him (YEAH!) .

My mama is out of the hospital and is doing much better at home than she was in the hospital! Still a long road ahead...but all of your prayers and encouragement are appreciated and are helping so much!

I can't wait to have a chance to catch up on everyone's blogs and see how you all are doing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Post & Photos

New post and photos -- Midnight Train to Peoria -- at Matthew's site

Monday, January 7, 2008

New prayers for America

New intercessions for week 2 are listed at my new site

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

the shark bites...and bites hard!

I really thought we were on to something good for Matthew's sleep when we started following the schedule suggested in my new book...and he responded well! Unfortunately for the past 3 nights things have gone dooooowwwnnnhill. Even though we have not done anything differently, instead of Matthew's typical nightly wakening of 1-2 hours, he is now having TWO nightly wakenings of 1-2 hours. The last 3 nights he awaken around 11:30 and 4:30...and stayed up.

We've put him to bed with teething medicine on his gums in case that was the problem. Because his diaper is still completely soaked in the morning (despite no drink at dinner and less ounces in the bedtime bottle), when he woke up at 11:30 one night I tried changing his diaper in hopes that would cut out his 4:30 awakening. WRONG. I've also noticed it is taking him longer to go back to sleep after his morning bottle...it's like he's just wide, wide, wide awake. He's only napping for about 45 mins - 1hour in the morning and about 1 1/2 hours in the afternoon so I don't think he's getting way too much sleep during the day.

Yikes, we're sharing a room with my little sister when we go home...poor thing!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm on my waaaaaay, Home Sweet Home

You have to sing that post title like the Motley Crue song...

All packed!

Matthew and I are headed out this week to visit my place of birth...my point of origin...my peeps. And that means just one thing: A BLIZZARD! Yes, every time I go home I am greeted with a blizzard. OK, that may be a wee bit of an exaggeration...but just a wee. So I ran out last night to buy some cold weather clothes and, luckily, Old Navy had fleeces for $8...so I will be the Queen o' Fleece for a whole week. Same shirt, different color...same shirt, different color...didn't she wear that yesterday?...no, same shirt, different color.
We are taking Amtrak. When I booked, I thought it was a 12 hour overnight trip. HAHAHAHA! Well, it is overnight, but it is a 22 hour trip!!! YIKES!!!!!!!!! But honestly that sounds better than navigating the airports, going through security, and sitting through flights with wiggle-butt on my lap...and the train ticket was cheaper than a spur-of-the-moment plane ticket, but more expensive than hitch hiking.
Well better go practice packing...with all of Matthew's necessities I will be lucky if my stunning new $8 fleeces even fit in the suitcase!

Friday, January 4, 2008

How we feel about bugs...and why I am diggin' on youtube

New home in new construction by agricultural field = BUGS, BUGS, BUGS. We have so many crazy looking bugs that it makes my head spin. One night there was a bug in my shower that looked like it crawled out of a fossil in some "Bugs of Ancient Civilization" museum exhibit. I'll post a photo some day...if I get the nerve to even look at the picture again. Bugs just torture me because they make me angry...I think that if they aren't paying rent, they shouldn't be inside my house. Anyway, I usually make a big deal out of it when I see a bug...and when you ask Matthew "Where's the bug?", he gets all worked up. In his book about "toys", it has a picture of a bug...not sure why...and he likes to "get that bug" in the book. Here's a video:

On another note, I have found youtube to be an awesome educational and motivational tool for Matthew. For example, when we look at his books about animals, then we can look up those animals on youtube and there is video of the actual animal making its actual sound! Pretty great! No matter how I try to "neigh" I can never get a horse sound right. Also, Matthew is still not interested in doing pat-a-cake or itsy bitsy spider with me. Once I start the song, he smiles and then immediately starts looking around the room for something better to do. However, today I looked up kids singing those songs on youtube, and the boy got excited and started clapping! Maybe he just doesn't like my singing?!?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A little of this, a little of that

To answer some questions:
- I cut Matthew's hair while he is in his highchair and I use regular men's clippers. Not sure which size attachments...I always just eyeball it. I do the top first and then the sides...and I just try to go fast, fast, fast!

- They are building a new house in the field behind our home. The good news is that the people like us and tried to push their home as far east as possible so as not to block our view of the mountains. The bad news is they may still block our view of the mountains. The other good news is that the animals (Xena, sheep, llama, etc) will still be able to roam free once the house is finished.

- My mom got me the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book and, while it is taking some time, I really think it is working!!!!! Matthew's wake time is around 7:00a, 1st nap around 9:00a, 2nd nap around 1:00p, and bed around 6:30p. While he was up from 11:30-12;30 last night he hasn't been doing the really huge stretches of awake time like he used to. He still wakes up at 5:30a...and seems to go in and out until his bottle at 6:15a...but then back to sleep til 7:00. He seems to be much more well-rested....his old bedtime was around 7:15/7:30p.

- The blog posts are going to be hit and miss for awhile as my mom is in the hospital and Matthew and I will be traveling to see her. Please pray for healing for her body...and peace in her heart. And please pray that I will keep my eyes on Jesus instead of the storm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quick post


Quick post today...some photos of Matthew (his face looks all wet because I just slathered him with Aquaphor)...and a video for Matthew's cyber-buddy Grant (we wish that Grant and his mama could come play in the dirt with us!!)