Sunday, June 12, 2011

May Wrap Up

Just a few pictures and one video clip for this wrap up...and then I'm all caught up! Wahoo!

May 7th we attended a get together at a park with a bunch of people from church. The kids were so cute enjoying themselves playing in the little splash pad there:

Audrey H., Noah, Lincoln.

May 13th ultrasound (33 weeks)! Isn't he so cute? He is almost 6 pounds here with 7 weeks left to wonder the chubby cheeks. In addition to his size (continuing to measure 3 weeks ahead for his size) the ultrasound tech showed us his beautiful long eyelashes. Amazing that we can check that stuff out in utero, right? These pictures aren't the best quality since I just snapped pictures of my printed out copies, but I want to share them anyway:

Caught a smile here:

I'm just throwing these in to document this puzzle stage that Linc is enjoying right now. I pulled these puzzles off the shelf one day and Lincoln threw them together and loved it!
Then he took them apart and did them over and over again! So, we've been giving him puzzles with more pieces since then (no pictures of that yet)...he loves it. And, unlike his mother, he doesn't get frustrated or mind just doing it all by himself. Awesome!

The last thing for this post is a clip of me trying to wake Lincoln up. He crashed on the recliner just before it was time to go pick Noah up from school one day. He was so-o tired that I had trouble waking him up. It cracked me up, so I grabbed my camera:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Finishing up with the Phillies

We got our share of giggles watching Noah do funny things out on the field this first season of tee ball. For example: Getting passed on more than one occasion by the runner behind him while running to the next base. Taking his sweet time with just about everything (it didn't matter if both teams were waiting on him to make his way up to bat). Watching a hummingbird instead of the ball. Acting out scenes from movies while playing the field (for example, the baseball scene from Hook). You get the idea.

Anyway, that being said...our little guy really did make progress over the season! The most apparent (and easily measured) improvement was batting. Noah went from struggling to just hit a ball off the tee, to being able to hit a ball with an underhanded pitch! I have a few clips that I'll include from his game on May 13th. The first one is just a quick clip that shows him drawing a line in the sand to stand behind. I just thought that was too cute:

And a couple of batting clips:

Oh, how I wish that we had videos from his next game (which was their second to last game). It was as if things just finally clicked for him. He had strong hits every time he was up to bat (once it went past 2nd base), and 3 of the times he was up he hit the ball on the first pitch! It was so cute to see how proud he was of himself...and we made a big fuss after the game and went out for burgers and ice cream. That was serious improvement from 2 months prior (if you click here, you can scroll down to a previous post and watch a clip from that first game).

Their last game was rained out only a few minutes after starting when a downpour hit. Our team party was set up to be held after the game too, so we waited out the rain under some trees and then went ahead with things anyway (and just tried to ignore the rain as it showered us a couple more times during the party). The first thing they did was have Coach Craig (who was fantastic, I must add...just the right amount of encouraging and patient) hand out medals, trophies, and team pictures. Here is Noah getting his:

Doesn't he look proud of himself?

Lincoln congratulating Noah (melt my heart):

Hagan's parents weren't able to stay for the game/party and his mom was sad to miss it. I told her that I'd snap a couple of pictures of him, so here's Hagan after getting his awards:

Shane must have seen me take Noah's picture and then Hagan's picture after getting their awards, so after getting his he walked over to me and stood there posing with this cute I went ahead and took a picture of him too. Pretty cute, huh?

One last picture. Hagan & Noah (I should mention that they're friends from preschool too):
And aren't those little baseball uniforms so cute?!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Maternity session

When I was 7 months pregnant, Barb of Simply Fabulous Photography not only created these beautiful images for our family, but she helped us create some memories too. Really. We had such an enjoyable, relaxed session together (thanks also to lots of help from my friend Allison with the boys). We shot at 3 different locations and there wasn't even one meltdown (from me or the boys)!

I'm going to post our photos here in a slideshow - as well as individually:

Mother's Day

Later in this post I'd like to include a couple of pictures and video clips that I want to document to remember from this year's Mother's Day sweetness. First though, I wanted to shake out a few thoughts that I have in my head on the topic. Not that my thoughts are particularly new or original, but they are in my head nonetheless. I don't know if other people have one static emotion that is elicited when they hear the words "Mother's Day", but I don't. It is one of those things that without my permission seems to draw up so many deep and seemingly contradictory feelings.

Obviously some of those emotions have steeped and developed over the years, and some newer (but no less potent) emotions have been added to the concoction as time has gone on. Sometimes I find it a little bit confusing, if not distracting, to try and figure out how to process all of the feelings at once. If I had to summarize this mish-mash of feelings into a short sentence it would go something like this, "Around Mother's Day I feel appreciation, gratitude, sorrow, empathy, and wonder." And, since I'm a list person...let me try to tease those things out a bit in list form (with lots of elaboration of course):
  1. Appreciation. Appreciation for the women in my life that have mothered me. Grandmothers & Great-Grandmothers, teachers, friends' parents, my mother in law...but most of all MY MOM! There is an element of appreciation that I think naturally grows with time and maturity, but I do agree that this level of appreciation seems to mature much more completely (at least for me) once becoming a mom one's self. I now have a greater appreciation for what my mom went through to bring me into the world. Even though I was old enough to remember my mom being terribly sick during her pregnancies with younger siblings, experiencing it now myself makes me so grateful that she did it for me (and 3 times over again so I could have my 3 awesome brothers). The appreciation for this stage is surely heightened for me currently since I'm sick and pregnant myself right now. However, the appreciation obviously extends beyond that stage to all the various selfless things that my mom has done for me over the last 33 years. All the things she's taught me. Encouragement she gave me. Time she spent with me. Things she went without so I could have things that I wanted. Right down to how she loves my children! She is an awesome grandma too! I love my mom, and I appreciate so much all that she has done, and still does, for me.
  2. Gratitude. While this emotion is of course intertwined with the things listed in #1...I mean gratitude more specifically for my own situation as a mother. I am grateful to be a mother! I am grateful for a wonderful birthmother that not only chose us to parent her child, but that she loved him (Noah) so much that she went through with this heart-wrenching decision even though it was so hard for her after he was born. Because of her I became a mother. Furthermore, I have been blessed twice more due to modern medicine (in vitro)! While every child, however they come into the world, is a beautiful gift...most couples don't rely on someone else to make the possibility of bringing a child into their family a reality. I am so grateful for Noah's birthmother. I'm grateful for the people who developed (and continue to refine) current assisted reproductive technologies. And I'm grateful for the physicians, embryologist, and nurses who gained the knowledge and training necessary to give me such a high quality of care which has been able to bless us with two more wonderful miracles!
  3. Sorrow. This word choice may sound melodramatic, but it is truly the appropriate word for the emotion that I'm trying to express. Just because I am now a mother doesn't mean that I magically forgot all the heartache and heartbreak that it took to get there. Over all the years of waiting and yearning to become a mother, each successive Mother's Day seemed to become more painful to me than the previous one. While I still had my own mother to be grateful for on this day each year, the looming sorrow to become a mother myself became more and more encompassing each year until Mother's Day itself became something that I dreaded. One expensive, painful procedure or surgery after another failed. Feeling like I was a failure myself. The roller coaster of adoption. Hopes up, down, up, down...more waiting, failed adoption - and then Noah's adoption almost not going through either. While I am absolutely aware that there are people with much more severe things that they deal with...this trial of infertility and adoption is my reality, and the deep rooted feelings of sorrow are no less real to me. And, because of how acutely I attached these feelings of sorrow to the dreaded celebration of Mother's Day...I wonder if I will ever completely shake that association. Maybe I don't completely want to forget the sorrows that I trespassed to "earn" my cherished title as a long as I don't let it overshadow the aforementioned feelings of appreciation and gratitude.
  4. Empathy. The feelings that I have with this emotion are very similar to #3, but they have a separate meaning to me. Because of how intensely emotional my journey to motherhood was, I feel a keen awareness at Mother's Day of the many women who yearn to be mothers, but are not. Everyone's situation is different, and every woman waiting to become a mother experiences things differently - so I don't mean to say that I know exactly what they've been through or how they feel, but I do know that I can relate to the yearning. While it's not "feeling sorry" for these women (I hated that), it is (for me) a feeling of sorrowing with them...even if I wasn't invited to. And often times it is these women that dominate my thoughts at Mother's Day.
  5. Wonder. I didn't know how else to categorize this seemingly large emotion into one word, but that's as close as I can come. When I really take the time to think about my children, and my role as their mother (which one tends to do on Mother's Day)...I have such a feeling of wonder. Amazement and wonder at: how wonderful they much they rely on me right much that I love much trust has been put in me to raise them much I treasure their little quirks and much potential they have...that if I love my children like this, that my mom must have felt/feel that way about me. It seems strange to write that last one, but when I feel that all-encompassing love for my child & it feels so large that it almost hurts and I can hardly compute those's hard to wrap my mind around someone loving little ol' me that much. Not because I don't feel that I've been shown that love...that's just a lot of love to imagine being felt toward me, and then I'm led back to emotion number one. Appreciation.
(My mom & me 2 years ago)

Well, I don't know if anyone will actually ever read through all of that, but it actually was a little bit therapeutic for me to type it out. Most of my blog posts consist more of me journaling through lots of pictures or video clips, with information just documenting what was happening. I suppose that now and then it is good to take the time for myself to expound on how I am feeling. I just chose an emotionally charged, difficult-to-put-words-around-these-emotions type of topic for me! However, I am now out of words (believe it or not). So, I would like to include a couple of pictures and videos in this post.

Noah's preschool had 2 different teachers/classes - a M/W/F and a Tues/Thurs. Each one did a little something for the kids' moms for Mother's Day. Here is his M/W/F class singing a few songs while holding flowers that they made for their moms...

A quick clip of them singing:

Noah with his flower that he made for me. How sweet is that smile?

And Noah gave me this present that he made too. A picture he drew of himself and me in a frame that he painted.

Here is a clip of Noah with his Tues/Thurs class reciting a poem together for the mommies:

And we were able to enjoy brownies with our little sweeties. Noah & me:

Carrie & Noah S. (note the cute vase & "flowers" each kid made for the moms):

Since this was Noah's first year doing preschool, this year was a fun first for me to be able to attend these little Mother's Day celebrations. I loved watching the proud, but wistful way that Noah looked at me during their little "program", and how excited he was to present me with the treasures that he'd made for me. He was so excited to have me come to his school, and I couldn't help but think about how short this stage in his life will be...I'm so glad I get to be part of it.

Lastly, I have to say that the best part of this Mother's Day were all the extra hugs and kisses from all three of my boys. I don't have any pictures of Lincoln or Mark to post, but they did their best to spoil me too. I'm a lucky mama.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

April Wrap Up

The first thing I have to put in this post is a video clip of our big milestone that happened in April. Saying goodbye to "bink"! Lincoln was still using his binky to go to sleep at night and we seemed to have missed the window to take it away...this boy was as attached to that thing as he could be to anything. We'd tried several different methods several times to lose the binky at night, but nothing worked. One day while at the store he saw a toy he really wanted and I told him that I'd buy it for him if he said goodbye to his bink and put it in the garbage. He agreed! (This was the zillionth time that I'd tried this same method, so the timing must have just been right) Anyway, while I knew that the battle wouldn't be over come bedtime (and oh, the heartbreaking tears that were to come) is a clip of Lincoln actually going through with saying his final goodbye to bink!:

Catching Linc doing stuff like this showed us that perhaps it was past time to take down the baby gate. He could climb over that thing in 2 seconds flat.

Lincoln feeling pretty proud of his super-hero skills.

And, since we're on the topic of's a clip of the boys being villans. While Noah is particularly fond of always playing the part of the villan, Lincoln seems to like to switch back and forth between being a good guy and a bad guy. In any case, they can be quite entertaining. Oh, and I get a kick out of the accents that Noah attempts to associate with characters!:

Ultrasound picture of our little guy on April 15th (29 weeks). I love how he has his little fist up by his face:

Mark and I got tickets through his work to attend a benefit together. I figured that we ought to document us going out on a date night without the kiddos (thanks to our awesome babysitter Sabrina)!

A quick shot of Allison and me as we left on of the locations from our photo session. Allison was so much fun (I know, shocking for those of you that know her) playing with the boys when they weren't being photographed. She ran around exploring with them, and helped them have lots of fun. Thanks, Al!

The boys enjoying blowing some bubbles that my mom sent them...

Here are a couple of clips of the an activity that the boys came up with in the backyard. I'm glad that I had my camera handy (and I'm glad that they thought to put a helmet on Lincoln)...

Noah taking a spin:

April 26th. After school play-date at the Railroad Park with some friends from school. Tie dye shirt: Noah S., Orange shirt: Nicolas, Black shirt: Brody...and Lincoln and Noah in front.

Lincoln & Noah in front of one of the cool trains.

Thumbs up for a fun trip to the park.

Every now and then we enjoy going out for Thai food as a family and the boys love it. I took this quick clip of Lincoln eating noodles and it cracked me up how he kept glancing at himself in the nearby mirror as he ate:

April 30th. Caitlyn (from Noah's class) had a swim birthday party. Here she is blowing out her candles!

I debated whether or not to include this video clip that Mark recorded. First of all, I'd like to document that my wonderful husband dared his 5 year old child to do this. (*sigh*) Secondly, I'd like to document that I did protest. Unfortunately, I suppose that I'm also required to add that some part of me was amused by it all...I'm not sure if it was the act itself that was amusing, or simply the fact that Noah did something so out of character for himself and actually took on the dare to run over and spray the group of teenage girls that were sunning themselves:

Lincoln & Noah leaving Caitlyn's party with their bug catching nets (party favor) over their shoulders.

I'll finish this post with a video from one random morning in April. Lincoln was singing a dutch song about the Bible story of Jonah and the whale. Mark has been singing it to each of the boys since they were new babies, but likes to substitute their names into the song for fun. It's fun to hear how much of the song they actually remember in dutch: