Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lydia's Story Part VI: Open Adoption in Real Life

November is National Adoption Month, and so I thought I'd share a few posts specifically related to adoption! I also just realized this week that I never shared how our meeting with Mama Heather (Lydia's birthmom) went when we visited her last fall! So this is the perfect time to share a little bit more....

It was last November (how ironic :) when we decided to pay Mama Heather a visit, as well as connect with Laurie, the bridge-care mom who had taken care of Lydia for two months before she was placed in our home. We made it a weekend trip, and if you remember this post, you'll remember that I was freakin' out just a little bit before we left! As always, the Lord brought me peace and enabled us to have a lovely meeting. We ended up picking her up at her house, so we got to see where she lived, and she had a few gifts for Lydia which was so sweet. They included a teddy bear that belonged to Mama Heather's mom (who had passed away a year before), a little heart-shaped fleece pillow she had made for Lydia, and a handmade dream-catcher. We then enjoyed a nice lunch at Chili's, where we looked through some pictures from the last several months, and just talked about all the milestones Lydia had passed and was reaching towards.

I'll admit, it was a little rough. Especially when we were looking through the photos. Heather struggled to hold back some tears as she flipped through the pictures, and I kept asking her if she was alright. Heart-wrenching, to be sure, though nothing compared to the day she said goodbye in the hospital... Thankfully, Liddy was in a good mood, and spent most of our lunch giggling and playing with Mama Heather at the table.

Unfortunately, the weather was quite chilly, so we weren't able to go to a park like we had hoped. Instead, we went to a nearby mall to hang out, but after a while Heather didn't feel so well, so we left there and a little later took her home.

I am so grateful we took the time to visit her - even though it wasn't necessarily easy. It was easy to see that her love for Lydia is deep, and that she's convinced she has done the best thing by choosing open adoption. It was also so helpful for us to hear some more of Heather's health and childhood so we can look for similarities in Lydia as she grows older.

And I kicked myself SO many times because though I brought our camera along, I never once took a picture of the two of them together! STUPID! Hopefully we'll get another chance in the near future....

So that's our visit last year in a nutshell. Since then we have continued to stay in touch through phone calls every month/month-and-a-half and I have tried to send her pictures every quarter, though I got behind during our crazy summer!! I feel like we've found a sort of rhythm in how our conversations go and what kinds of questions we ask about each other's lives, as well as Lydia's milestones. That definitely helps. We had hoped to visit Mama Heather again this fall, but the timing just isn't working out right, so we'll have to put that off until later, maybe spring time. We'll see.

You can continue to pray for Heather, though. The last time I called her, she wasn't in the mood to talk, and handed the phone to someone else. In our adoption training classes, we learned that often times there is a normal pulling back that takes place as your child grows older. It's almost as if the knowledge of all the missed milestones becomes too much for the birth parent, and as their baby morphs into a toddler who begins to understand things more and react more, it can be too painful to stay close. I don't know if that's what's happening now or if Heather just needs her space, but please join with me in praying for her.

Honestly, I have mixed emotions about it.  

I completely and totally understand why she might feel the need to pull away. 

I can't imagine going through that. And selfishly, to be honest, I'm a little bit relieved that we might have some more distance!

But there's another part of me. The part that feels I must be an advocate for my daughter. Though she may be too young to understand now, if our relationship with Mama Heather ends, it will only cause her questions and pain in the future.

And yet...the Lord knows best.

It's a balancing act, this whole adoption thing - and I'm not going to complain! But I will humbly ask for your prayers once again. That we would do the right thing and that Heather would find peace and ultimately be introduced to Jesus as her Savior.

(Obviously, this topic is a little sensitive, and I am trying to honor Heather's need for privacy by not sharing too many details. Thank you for understanding.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Can You Do With a One Year Old Take 2

Time for Part 2 of What You Can Do With a One Year Old! :) Here's a few more crafty type things we've done in the last several no particular order! :)

Do-A-Dot Art
My mom gave me these great paint-markers in a little set called "Do-A-Dot Art" and they're SUPER easy and fun for Liddy to use! All she has to do is press them to the paper and they make circles! It came with a little book of pages where you can add the dots to different drawings (trees, bubble gum machine, etc) though she's not quite old enough to get that yet. She really enjoyed this and it was not nearly as messy as I expected it to be! It was more like stamping then painting, really. Big thumbs up from me! :)

Making a birthday card for her cousin Laina :)
Very intent on her artwork :)
I made that title up myself. Hehe. :) This is another idea from Pinterest, of course! And it was pretty easy, though a little messy with the glue. :) I drew a shape of an apple on the paper, and cut up a bunch of squares from red construction paper. I then put down small patches of elmer's glue and told Liddy to press the squares on the glue. She didn't always follow my instructions (typical toddler!!) but for the most part it worked ok and doing small patches of glue at a time helped keep the mess to a minimum. :) At the end we dipper her hand in green paint to make the leaf and stem! She thought it was pretty cool :)

"Where does this one go, Mom??"

I can't figure out how to rotate this at the moment, but you get the idea!

 Pumpkin Carving!
Every kid has to experience carving a pumpkin at least one in their life! :) We had received a few free pumpkins with our purchases at our local grocery store, and so we had to come up with a project for them!! We decided to carve a cross in our pumpkin and thought Liddy might enjoy doing this project with Daddy. He tried to start this project without telling me so he wouldn't get his picture taken, but I was on to him! ;)

"I'm not so sure about this, Mom..."

Mr. Studly who got to deal with all the slimyness :)
She kept saying, "Gwoss" or "Eewww..." Such a girl :)
Checkin' out the "guts" - I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!!

Jumpin' in Leaves!
This is a MUST fall activity! :) We did this with my parents at their home too, but they have the pictures, so I can't share them here. :) Another good daddy-daughter activity here, too! :) Lydia didn't mind being in the leaves, but she was seriously avoiding touching them with her hands! It cracked us up!

"As long as my hands don't touch the leaves I'm fine!"
I love this one!

Joe looks scary, but check out her face!! :)

And of course, we had to practice a little child labor... ;)

Are you workin' hard or hardly working?? ;)

 Pumpkin Painting!
We just did this project today, so I'm really on top of things by posting about it so soon! (Aren't you impressed?? hehe) We used washable tempera paint (which I don't think worked as well as other kinds) to do this project. Again, we had to do something with our other pumpkin we had! So we broke out our paint. :) Liddy enjoyed having me turn the pumpkin so she could paint all over it. At first she was grossed out whenever her hand touched the paint (did I mention I have a GIRLY girl?? ;) but then she got used to it and really enjoyed it, as you can see below. Again, no picture of the finished project! I'm so silly!!

Painting Away

Color Mixing!

Miss Picasso! :)

 That sums up our activities so far! Hopefully now I can put them in individual posts! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Can You Do With a One Year Old??

I wanted to share about a few toddler activities I've tried out with my Liddy-Diddy. After she turned about 14 months, I became desperate for some activities to keep her busy and/or distracted for short (or long!) periods of time. :) Some have worked GREAT! Others...not so much. Let's just say I have a very active toddler who has a hard time sitting still at times, unless it really GRABS her attention!! :) So, in no particular order, here are a few projects we've tried in the last year!

Paint In A Bag
This one was pretty simple: You squeeze a few different colors of paint (I used tempera paint) into a Ziploc bag, seal, and tap to the table. I know it looks like Liddy was having fun here, but to be honest, she didn't care all that much about it. I had more fun mixing the colors and drawing shapes with my finger or a non-sharpened pencil! :)

"I'm bored with this, Mom. What's next??" ;)

 Jell-O Play Dough
Where else do I turn for brilliant toddler activity ideas? Why Pinterest, of course! I found this link here and boy was it great! I unfortunately didn't have any Jell-o at the time, so I just used sugar (since that's basically what Jell-O is, right??) and some food coloring and it turned out perfectly soft and moldable. Apparently when you actually use Jell-O it smells yummy too!! This was a hit with Liddy! She loved picking up the pieces with a spoon and pushing shapes into the dough. She didn't quite understand rolling it out yet, but that will come. We'll definitely do this again! The only thing is, you do have to let the dough cool for a while, so make sure you allow for that extra time!
Rollin' in the dough ;)

 Pom-Pom Push Through
Another big hit with my girl! This was a super simple task - all it required was that I stop at Hobby Lobby to purchase some pom-poms! I bought the large bag with varying sizes cuz I'm fun like that. :) All I did was cut holes into the lid of an old butter tub and then we pushed the pom-poms through! I made one a circle, one a square (sorta) and one a triangle. I figure we can use them for shape learning later. I've also heard of people making colored borders around the shapes to match the color of pom-poms to help with learning colors. The only problem with this is that pom-poms end up E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E and with Quincy, that doesn't work so well since he eats them. Hehe. :) Otherwise - fabulous!
Poking the pom-pom's through!

 Pipe Cleaners & A Colander
This is super simple - all you need is a colander and some pipe cleaners! Then your kiddo(s) can poke them through the holes. Alas, Liddy didn't care much about this one. Funny since she loved the pom-pom one! I haven't tried it again recently, though, so she might enjoy it now that she's a little older...
"Right here, Mom?"

Rice Bin
Another super simple activity. Empty a bag of rice into a tub or 9x13 pan. Toss in a bunch of kitchen spoons, measuring cups, bowls, and other little toys. The end. :) Lydia loved this one too!! She especially loved filling cups with rice and then dumping it all over the floor. So fun for Mommy... ;) We did take this outside a few times over the summer too, and that seemed to work better since all I did was sweep up the bigger piles of rice, and left the rest for the birds! :) I think this would have worked better in a larger tub that would be more difficult for her to tip over (another problem we had...hehe). But it did keep her busy for quite a while! The clean-up was really the only negative. I've also heard you can do this with dried beans, though I haven't tried it due to it being a choking hazard at the time. Now that she's better about not putting things in her mouth, it'd probably work better. :)

Puttin' the rice in the measuring cup

Digging for toys!

There were a few other projects we tried, but they're still on my camera! Once I get them uploaded I'll have to post about them too. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Since I've Been Gone...

First of all, thank you to everyone who piped in regarding my posts in the future! It really did help me organize my thoughts a little bit more. :) And it only took me over a month to formulate my thoughts enough for a post. Hehe...oops!

So...since I haven't posted since JANUARY (I can't even believe that myself!), I have quite a bit of catching up to do! So here's the basics of our year in one big whirlwind post...cuz I know y'all LOVE those kind of posts...haha.

After celebrating Liddy's first birthday, the remaining few months were spent chasing after her! She started walking shortly after she turned one, and since then I don't think she's stopped!! :) We had our first "Red Dinner" for Valentine's Day, following the tradition my family put in place. Everything we ate was red....and I made the Jello jigglers just for Liddy. And of course, she didn't like them. Go figure. :) But it was fun anyway! Until she had a little run-in with the coffee table. A run-in that "helped" one of her teeth pop through the gums. That was a sad day, but she recovered quickly!!
Showing off the pink popcorn we made! 

As we got into springtime and summer, we spent lots of time outdoors (when the weather allowed!) Lydia LOVES to be's a few snapshots of our spring/summer...

Walkin' up the sidewalk...

Fun with Mommy!
For Easter, and as a gift for my MIL, we gathered all the grandkids together to take their picture. Let's just say that was a real "labor of love" as we had 7 kiddos age 8 and under to get to look at the camera and smile! And 3 of them were 2 yrs old or  younger! Eep! But we got some very cute ones, and my sister-in-law (who is amazing at photography!!) took a few singles of  Liddy as well. :)
Photography by MEL
She's just so darn cute! :)

As the weather got hotter (and boy was it HOT this summer!!) We spent lots of time outside in our little kiddie pool that my mom (also known as "Gobby" around here) gave us. Sometimes I wonder if Liddy is part fish because she loves the water SO much - and has absolutely NO fear of it!! Which is both good and bad... :)
Dipping her toes in...and LOVIN' it!
Cousin Jack-Jack came over to play - he was much more apprehensive about the water!
Liddy tried to warm him up to the idea of being splashed... ;)
Rockin' the shades!

Our 4th of July plans weren't too exciting - we decided that since Lydia was usually in bed by 7/7:30, and a fairly light sleeper, it wasn't worth it to drag her out to see the fireworks - especially since she probably would have screamed the whole time. :) Next year!! But we were very patriotic that day!! I only got a pic of Joe and Liddy, so that will have to suffice. ;)
Red, White and Blue! :)
 The rest of July and August was spent prepping for our annual Youth Carnival that we put on at our church! Joe is the mastermind behind it, and this year it was set up a bit differently - the youth group was supposed to help run the games, and all funds raised would go towards our youth group account (to help kids go to camp and other activities). Joe does such a great job of creating games and putting it all together!! He spent many, many, many hours working on his projects. So Liddy had a chance to help him out some as you can see here:
"Mark riiiight here, Dad..." :)

The Fishing game was especially popular this year!


Concession Stand helpers :)
(L-R Ella Russell, Jessica Russell (her mom), and Marta Bo Barta ;)

 Liddy joined the rest of the "babies" as we call them (though they're really toddlers!!) at a nearby friend's house, but they did get to join in on some of the fun for a little bit!! They loved the mini-golf hole-in-one game due to all of the obstacles! haha...
Jack & Ethan check out the deer they can ride on...

Then Liddy joins in the fun!

Bodie choose a gentler ride on a rabbit :)

 And that brings us to September!! I don't even have those pics uploaded to my computer yet...sheesh!! 

Stay tuned for a post about the fun projects/crafts I've done with Liddy over the summer (some have worked to hold her interest and some not so much... ;)!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poll the Audience

Hello friends :)

I know I've been absent from my blog for far too long and I'm hoping to remedy that soon, but it will require a little bit of feedback from you! :) I think the main reason I haven't blogged much over the last year is because I am lacking a purpose. Before most of my blogs centered around our struggle with infertility, and then our adoption journey, finally culminating in the joy of being first-time parents. But now I feel like I'm not sure where I'm headed - or what people want to hear. (Plus I'm a perfectionist, so that doesn't help any!)

I started this blog with the intention of keeping up with friends and family who are far away, and it's kind of morphed as I've gone! are some different directions I've thought of taking my blog, and I'd love your input! Please let me know what you'd like to hear more (or less!) of, and hopefully I can set up some sort of blogging schedule for myself. :) Thanks!

Normal hum-drum of daily life + silly Liddy antics/sayings
Highlighting different activities (educational or just for fun) that I do/create with Lydia
Thoughts and challenges in my walk with the Lord
Challenges/blessings of living life as a transracial family + Open adoption blessings/struggles
Recipes (HA! This would be more of an accountability tactic for myself!!)
Marriage/Family dates, trips, vacations and sweet moments

Obviously it will probably be a mix of many of these...but I'd love to hear your opinions!! Thanks!