Keep calm and carry on- sollybaby wrap

Thank you to Sollybaby wrap for sponsoring this review. The following  is my personal experience  with the sollybaby wrap.

One of the most beneficial things I can do for our foster babies is show them attachment. Often times these children have lacked love, affection and  closeness.The inital weeks with a new baby can be rough. Dinner still needs prepped, laundry done, and wearing baby close is the most logical thing to do. When I was a novice foster parent, I purchased our very first babycarrier. Mother’s around me modeled babywearing and it quickly became the most natural thing for our family of three. Not only has wearing our babies proven to be effective in helping with some of the problems they may face, it has helped us travel, grocery shop and calm a fussy babe.

 During the past three years I have accumulated quite a stash, as they call it, of various baby carriers. my experience has me looking for convenience and ease in using a carrier. I have purchased many carriers and quickly learned that some aren’t as easy as they Claim to be. the fit just isn’t right. 

Our family welcomed a preemie baby boy into the world this past July. His body was teeny tiny and finding a carrier to fit proved difficult. I wanted him to be close to me, but his body just didn’t work in any of the carriers I had purchased. at 4 months, Squishy is just under 10 pounds.the carriers with clips, buttons, inserts, and rings didn’t appeal to me this time around. Sollybaby sent me one of their wraps and I wasn’t sure if their wrap could meet my needs of fit and convenience. I was quickly proved wrong. 

Our wrap arrived the day before our vacation { such perfect timing to test it out in the world }. I excitingly opened the package and instantly fell in love with the softness of the fabric. it was so soft that knew Squishy would love it. When I took the wrap out of the package and began looking at action shots of the wrap in use  I panicked. The wrap looked intimidating. Sollybaby offers detailed tutorials on their website and the wrap comes with a detailed instruction booklet for a newborn and standard carry. I was able to watch the video a couple times and master the art of wrapping the wrap onto my body. within minutes I was ready to place Squishy  inside. The look on his face was pure joy. It was obvious that he loved being close to me and snug. He fit perfectly.

The next day,  I wrapped the sollybaby on me and placed Squishy inside as we boarded our airplane for vacation. he slept he entire plane ride. 

Sollybaby offers comfort, security and ease in their wrap. It’s everything I was looking for in a carrier. 

If your looking for a comfortable babywearing experience, I highly suggest giving sollybaby a try. 

Www.sollybaby.com

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Mommy what?!? 

Mommycon? 

Mommycon…. 

Envision women everywhere,specifically mothers. Mother’s {of any kind, lesbian, surrogate, adoptive, traditional, etc} who come together with or without their child, their bump, their husbands, to gain more wisdom on this whole motherhood thing. 

Sounds great, right? 

Motherhood is hard. Just because my motherhood journey hasnt been a traditional parenting journey, my experiences have been the same as every other mother around. There are times I’m barely hanging on, faking it til I make it, and days when I high five myself for getting the task complete all in one smooth day. Like most other women, I crave to learn more. I want to better myself as a mother and meet other like minded people who are trekking the same path as me. I remember my first Mommycon experience 3 years ago. A friend of mine introduced me to a whole new world and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Picture modern motherhood, boutique style pop up shops, seminars on potty training, sex after baby, breastfeeding, sleep training, and beyond. It’s a day long event ( now 2 days, but more on that later) that tackles every thing mommy related. MC allows you to pop in on sessions that pique your interest and meet venders who sell unique baby items, as well as major companies in the baby industry ( britax, peg perego, Chicco and more). The end of the day is packed with a huge giveaway! Who doesn’t love a brand new BOB stroller or a arms reach Co sleeper?!? 

Motherhood is the greatest gift on earth, why not embrace it with other mothers and gain more mommy knowledge while having fun? The best part is, mommycon has grown so much and comes to major cities all over the country. 

Check out the link below for Mommy con info and see if they are going to a city near you!

All Events

Use promo code STAG17 for your discounted ticket to Mommycon 2017

4am

long ago, my alarm would alert me at 4:40am. I would sleepily slide out of bed, change into my workout clothes and make the 5 mile trek to the gym. Every single morning I hated that routine. It never got easier. In fact, I vowed that never again would I allow myself to see that early of the morning.

Fast forward a couple of years and many foster placements later, 4am became a time when someone needed their blankie, or a simple acknowledgement that mommy was still in the house. While I still didn’t enjoy the wee hours, I had adjusted.

Squishy entered our home weighing a tiny 4.5lbs and he required many small feeds. I began seeing all hours of the night for his bottle feeds. With each passing feed, my eyes became more alert and I was able to begin enjoying the quiet. Just me, squishy, and the silence of our cozy home.

As Squishy grows, his feeds become less and less during the sleeping hours. He quickly scheduled and chose 4am to be nightly bottle feeding time.

He fusses, I prepare his bottle, gently grab his cocooned body and we make our way to the living room couch. We sit right in front of our large picture window and snuggle while he drinks his bottle. Just us, our bodies touching and the sounds of him drinking his milk.

4am, my new all time favorite time. It’s just us. together, no caseworker texting, no other family member interrupting, or outside force making its way into our quiet moments.

All my life I longed for a moment like this. A moment that would bring me complete and utter peace within my soul.  Who knew that such a tiny squish could make me appreciate such an early morning that I once vowed I would never let myself see again.

how blessed am I?

Dear 4am,

See you in a few short hours.

Love,me

 

 

Catching up

Oh my! It has been quite a long time since I have been around to update. Life happens and I had every intention of posting a note or two, but sadly, it didn’t happen.

Theres quite a bit to say, and probably not enough time to put it all into words.

Can I be honest? I have been in a slump.

As foster parents we feel worn out, tired of the system.

As a couple we ache to become forever parents via adoption. It hasn’t happened and we are exhausted.

Today marks a very special 6 months.

On this day in March, we became parents. It was a moment we envisioned sharing with everyone, yet it was taken from us so rapidly, that I don’t think we have processed it or try to even explain it to others anymore.

Let me explain…

My husband and myself are licensed foster parents a well as a waiting family with Bethany Christian Services. We are attempting to adopt domestically with them. This means that a woman who is facing unplanned pregnancy can go to an adoption agency ( preferably Bethany) and make an adoption plan for her unborn child. She is able to choose the family she would like to raise her baby. We have been waiting for just over a year now, and sadly have not been matched.

We thought that if we fostered as well that through some way ( foster or domestic adoption) we would be able to become parents, but it hasn’t happened yet.

During our 6 months waiting, a longtime friend approached us. She was pregnant and unable to parent the baby inside of her. She was choosing US to become the adoptive parents to her unborn son. She was due in July. Unfortunately, she went into preterm labor at 24.5 weeks. Our son, Aaron was born too soon. He only survived in the NICU a few short days.I was able to be  his mommy on earth for only a short time. A moment I will always treasure in my heart. March was a whirlwind month and a month that we don’t want to forget, yet something we simply try not to think about at certain times.

I am a mother. My son lives in Heaven. A selfless woman made me a mother via adoption. Yet, he is not in my arms. I feel betrayed, lost and most of all, I am hurt.

Our son would be 6 months old today.

Where are we now? We have moved on, well as much as we can.

Our home is still a licensed foster home and we are parents to two very amazing kiddos.

The pregnant teenager, J, had her baby in late August and is living with another foster family.

We now have a artistic 13 yr old who has the most stunning eyes and a teeny tiny preemie baby boy who has been the love of our lives since July 10.

Life has been busy, messy, and chaotic, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I can’t wait to share more from our summer adventures soon!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Marriage; year three

On the eve of my three year wedding anniversary, I think about every tear shed, argument fought, mountain faced that Jeffery and I have been through. I thank God that we continue to have the strength to hold true to our vows and face everything head on…together.

There have been times we went to bed angry at each other, stormed out mid fight, laid in bed together sobbing as we faced things no couple should ever go through. There have been times we didn’t want to admit that we were in the wrong and said hurtful words. I thank God that we continue to have the strength to hold true to our vows and face everything head on…. together.

There has never been a love as fierce and raw as the love I have for Jeffery. Falling in love was easy. Then our flaws appeared, life threw obstacles and the feeling quickly changed. We had to work together. We had to put forth energy and really work for our love.

This world is becoming a hunt for perfection and instant gratification. We forget that people aren’t perfect, we are all flawed. A handful of friends of mine are divorcing quicker than ever. I don’t know each specific situation, and I can’t judge their situation, so I won’t. But if perfection is what you are out to seek, don’t commit to one person forever. Everyone has flaws.

Friends, young, old, courting, dating, engaged. Listen up! Marriage is HARD. Marriage is emotional, messy, raw, real, and the greatest thing ever. Marriage doesn’t come with a manual. It doesn’t foresee the future of infertility, miscarriage, death, health issues, or children…When the going gets rough and you’re at the bottom of that mountain looking up, don’t run. Grab your partners hand and climb that mountain.

Three years into marriage and he has seen me at my absolute worst, yet he gripped my hand tighter instead of turning the other direction for perfection that doesn’t exist. His eyes have met mine before surgeries and because of his unfailing love, I see him on that very day that we committed our lives to one another instead of fear of the unknown.  Jeffery and I have been through things that should have torn us apart. We have experienced struggles that newlyweds with  little experience should have given up on. When  you find something you can live for, don’t ever let it go. Stay. The storm will pass and the love will be stronger than it was before the storm appeared. I promise.

On this day, I thank God that I didn’t hunt for perfection and I stayed with a person that I love. Flawed like me. There is nothing in this world that can replace the feeling. Work for love. it’s worth every bead of sweat that you will produce.

P&D (45 of 109)

The bump obsession

I’m obsessed with my teen foster daughters baby bump. There, I said it. Admitting is the first step.

When teen mom walked into our home newly pregnant I felt a variety of emotions flowing thought my heart and mind. In the beginning I had so much anger and bitterness towards the tiny little blip living inside of her. I was jealous at the fact that I couldn’t carry a baby in my womb like her. While she still doesn’t have the slightest clue about how to care properly for a baby,or the fact that Mountain Dew is not a sufficient liquid to intake while pregnant, my anger and jealously are slowly subsiding.

The other night I walked into her room to check on her and make sure she had put her clothes away. She was standing by her closet hanging a few shirts and I suddenly noticed her belly. It seemed like all of a sudden it had popped out and it was very evident that she was in fact pregnant. I made a comment to her about how her body had changed. She openly talked about how she had been feeling the baby move for a couple of days and it was “weird” feeling. She said the baby was moving at that moment. Reluctantly, I asked her if I could touch her belly and feel. She said yes, and allowed me to place my hand on her stomach. She said “right here” and I moved my hand where she pointed. In that moment I felt the baby wiggle inside of her. I had known all along that she was pregnant, but this seemed to confirm that even more.

Days have passed and I have touched her bump more times than I can count on my two hands. It’s so fascinating to watch her stomach grow and I love it even more that teen mom allows me to intrude on her personal space more than I should be. When I asked  her about my touching her bump she replied ” it annoys me when everyone at school touches me, but your my mom, its ok.” My heart felt happy. She trusts me enough to send positive vibes via my hand on her bump, I couldn’t be more honored.

I am not sure the exact moment that my feelings changed, and I am still feeling a mix of emotions that aren’t always positive, but everyday I am making progress. Tomorrow I take teen mom in for her 20 wk anatomy scan/ gender ultrasound. I am hoping that I can be of support to her and maintain the positive feelings once we find out the gender of the baby inside her.

 

 

Isn’t it Ironic?

Lately the irony in our lives has been cruel.

I am a firm believer in “tests” that life hands you.

One can crumble when faced with the proverbial test, or they can face it head on and laugh, cry, kick, and push through it and stare it directly in the face.

Usually I am the latter… except for today. I crumbled like a stale cookie and received a big fat “F” in foster parenting, infertility, and this life test.

Allow me to explain….

Early last week, we received a call about a teenager who we had done some mentoring for this past fall. She was back in care again and this time she is pregnant. For obvious reasons I cannot go into detail. just know that we are dealing with some higher needs and navigating life with not only a teen girl, but a pregnant teen girl.  (  I know, there are many who have questions about the future of this child, we cannot go into detail with the case or what will happen to baby)

Honestly, I am not sure why the husband and I agreed to take in this girl, but we felt it was appropriate and said “yes”. This past week going from a couple to a family of 3 has been quite the change for us. The infertile takes in the fertile under her roof and subjects herself to the experience of pregnancy.

One of the big unknowns was the gestation of the baby. All week we prepped teen girl for the upcoming appointment and in the back of my mind I knew what was going to occur at this appointment. This afternoon, we walked into the office and began the new patient paperwork, and began the journey on being a first time foster parent to a teenager who is pregnant. It all seemed to be going well. obtaining history, urine test, background, etc.

We had a huge issue with lab work ( teen girl was terrified. a story for another day) and then it was time for the Ultrasound. Looking back now, I am not sure why I thought I would be mentally prepared enough for what my eyes were about to see. The only Ultrasounds I have ever seen were of my empty uterus and ovaries with numerous cysts, yet in my mind I kept hearing  “you got this.”

They lifted her shirt and unbuckled her jeans a bit and placed the jelly on her abdomen. The wand was placed on her belly and the quest for baby began. and there it was. this tiny little jelly bean moving around like a tiny blip. I was overcome with immediate jealously and bitterness. Why couldn’t I experience this? Why was some teenager who has meaningless sex able to carry a life inside her, when here I am broken? I couldn’t handle it. I crumbled. me, the stale cookie, in a million pieces, a blubbering mess. I quietly exited the room to allow her the moment of excitement she was clearly experiencing.

I sat on the other side of the wall and sobbed. I sobbed for myself, for the baby, for everything. I could hear the excitement in her voice when they announced that she is approx 8-9 weeks along. She is just a baby, who is having baby. and millions of women are experiencing loss of that gift. yet, somehow this girl has been placed in my care. Irony at its finest.

I want to experience motherhood so badly and I feel like life keeps teasing me with this scenarios of hope, only to take it away and leave me feeling empty inside.

After a while, I composed myself, texted a good friend of mine who had the right words to say. I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and walked back into that room.

The rest of the evening has been quiet around here. I think we are all a little shocked from today.

This is just the beginning of a very long road. The ironic moments are just beginning, just like this new life inside her.

Thank goodness for wine, friends, and running.

A cherished relationship

When we entered our foster parenting journey, we never had concrete expectations of how relationships would look as the years went by. While a couple placements have left us broken hearted, we feel so blessed to have bird in our lives today.

Baby Bird left our nest well over a year ago, yet we often speak of him multiple times a week in our home. Sometimes we reflect on how rough the newborn stage was while other times we mention the cute things he did that brought a smile to our face.

My husband and I consider ourselves blessed because his aunt ( now adoptive mommy) made us a promise that we would still be able to maintain a relationship with bird and she has kept her word everyday since that bittersweet August afternoon when they removed him from our home to hers.

We try to visit bird atleast one time a month, weather and sickness permitting. It’s always so nice to spend time with him and see what an awesome little guy he is turning into. I know that his mom is busy chasing him around and I try not to contact her as often as I’d like. I trust that when she needs us she will text message us.

The other day I recieved a text saying that she had a birthday gift for my husband and a Christmas gift for us. ( have I mentioned what a sweet lady she is?) She is so considerate  and sweet to think of us during moments when she isn’t obligated too.

As I lay my head down this evening, I thank God that even though we have weathered the storm of loss, that bird is blessed to have such a selfless adoptive mom who acknowledges the role we play in his life as his previous foster parents. The fact that she could have walked away with him and never looked back is not lost on me.
We will forever cherish the relationship we continue to have with bird and build with his beautiful mother who loves and adores him so much.
This is what adoption is. Love, selflessness and relationships.

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A fresh start

2016

Whoa! It’s hard to believe that the years fly by as fast as they do. When I take a moment and stop the hurry up and go daily life I realize just how much my husband and I have accomplished since we married in 2013. We have overcome hurdles, completed some minor home renovations, planted roots in our community, created friendships, been through TWO home studies ( 1 foster care, 1 domestic adoption), became parents, lost children, and now are back full circle to waiting for a tiny human to enter our lives once again; this time for keeps.

2015 had its moments of highs, lows and everything in between. I have taken the past few weeks to reflect who I became and how I want to change as I prepare to become a mother once again.

I woke up to the first day of 2016 and felt this urge to clear out the nursery. It’s mostly set up, but has quickly become a cluttered mess of baby items. Some days working in the nursery gives me the extra patience I need as we sit and wait, while other days it brings me to my knees in tears of loneliness. The clutter over took the glider chair that I use to journal in, and I wanted a fresh start as I begin the new year of continuing to journal letters to our unborn child.

This journal has become by far my favorite part of the whole adoption process. It is my hope that one day, when our son or daughter is old enough to grasp emotions that he/she will be able to gain a better understanding of how much we loved them from the very beginning of this process and the emotions we went through as we waited for months or even years. Some days, I write a lesson that I have learned and I try to reflect that lesson, so that one day when they are faced with a similar situation, they can understand how I processed it and hopefully gain some wisdom from my words. While other days, I write my raw emotions.

Today as we begin the first day of a new chapter ( year), I wanted to take a moment and share one entry that I wrote in regards to patience and timing.

I don’t consider myself a hardcore religious person. My faith sways and some days I feel closer to God, while other days its hard to profess my love for Him. I felt that this entry was applicable to anyone who is struggling with patience and timing. You are not alone.

12-3-15

Sweet Child of Mine, 

The other day I left off by saying that the adoption of you is in God’s hands. He is in complete control of the life he has planned out for your daddy and me and everyone around us. It is my hope that as we prepare our hearts for you that I can properly teach you that we have such a mighty God who is bigger than you, me, or anyone can ever be. It is such a hard concept to learn and honestly I am not sure that  I have fully grasped the concept that I am NOT in control of the bigger picture. God has his own timing and plan for our lives. During the troubling time we don’t always see a clear picture or see a positive outcome, but if you trust in Him, the outcome will unfold to something you cant ever imagine. These thoughts were heavy on my heart today. As your daddy and I wait each day I often have a negative mind that you will never arrive or that an expectant mom will never choose us to be your parents. The reality of it is, I am not in control and somewhere out there in this world there is a baby for your daddy and I. We hope your adoption story will give you the best lesson about how awesome and mighty of a God we have. 

 

May your New Year be filled with everything you ever wished for. It is my hope that all of us waiting for a baby will be granted patience, support and feel surrounded by love as we endure the long days until we get “the call”.

This heart that I follow

Life is funny. In a matter of a second it can drastically change for the better or worse. The end result changing the direction in which your life is going, often times in a complete directional change than before.

I remember like it was yesterday. December 19, 2014, We recieved the phone call for a precious 2 year old little girl. My Christmas wish had come true and I was on cloud 9.

The amount of love and preparation that went into accepting that little girl in our home was fierce. So many people came to our rescue and helped make her transition and Christmas simply beautiful.

The case quickly became complex. Too complex to write out for others to accurately follow and we soon realized that little girl came with alot more baggage than we ever imagined. Such is foster care. You never get the full story until your all in.

Our hearts and minds were taken on a emotional whirlwind and we quickly tired from the complexity.
Little girl was snatched from our home within 48 hours by the hands of a very hurtful worker and our hearts have never fully recovered.

Looking back, I realize the excitement that took over receiving her was impulse and encouraged by the ache in our hearts that longed for a child. I’m not too proud to admit that we had been approaching foster care all wrong. Our intentions were selfish. There are many lessons learned from the experience and we have given ourselves the opportunity to grow in many ways.

Shortly after the loss of our 4th foster child, we realized that our hearts couldnt take any more hurt.. or could they?  A decision was made that we would pursue domestic infant adoption ( a topic I have not yet opened up on here). It seemed like the safer, much less emotional way to become parents. Boy, have we been wrong. The emotions involved are such a rollercoaster, minus the tiny human passenger along for the ride.

My heart has lead the way on this crazy journey to parenthood and thus far, it’s left our hearts hollow and aching in more ways than we ever prepared to be.
There’s no turning back now, we’re all in…