Friday, May 30, 2008

a special day

Today is Eli's 1st birthday and also our 5th wedding anniversary! A very happy and special day, and we're so grateful to God that we're able to celebrate all together.

Happy Birthday, Eli!
Mommy & Daddy love you very much!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1 month home

We've been home a month now. Hard to believe. It feels like a lot longer. This past Thursday, Eli had his first visit to Grandmama's house! He did so well during the 20 minute car ride. Once we were there, he played, ate his snack, and had a wonderful time. After we got home, he was very fussy though, and he was whiny and clingy all day yesterday. The pattern seems to be that he does fine during the outing, but after, he is upset. This seems to be how he deals with stress. We were encouraged, because he did not melt down like he would have a month ago.

We'll be spending a quiet Memorial Day weekend at home.

His 1st birthday is Friday, and he got his first birthday presents in the mail! My aunt and uncle sent a cute pair of pajamas (which he needed), 2 adorable rompers, and a book. (Thanks N & J!!!) It's hard to believe he's going to be one. I still think of him as being a baby!


Feeding himself!



1st time to see a ceiling fan, and he was just fascinated by it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

first feeding

We had an exciting first today - Eli actually fed himself for the first time! I put the rice cookie on the tray of his highchair, and just out of the blue, he picked it up and put it in his mouth. I couldn't believe it! For the last month, I have been trying to put food in his hand and guide his hand to his mouth without success. It will be fun giving him more finger foods now.

Some pictures from yesterday. He is just so cute!!! (It's harder to get pictures now, because as soon as he sees the camera, he crawls toward it and tries to grab it!)




Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day

My first Mother's Day has been very nice. R took care of Eli this morning, and I got to sleep in for the first time since before we went to Moscow for our 3rd trip. It was very luxurious! He is so good with Eli; he is a wonderful father. He also gave me a charm for my bracelet - little booties! So adorable!

Hope everyone has had a lovely Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

no more shopping for a while

Eli had his first trip to a store today! R and I took him on a quick trip to the K-Mart this afternoon. We chose that store because it's close to the house, and we knew it wouldn't be crowded on a Tuesday afternoon. We had a few things we needed to get, and I was feeling very stir crazy, because except for going to the doctor, I have not been anywhere in several weeks. The drive was only 10 minutes. He rode just fine. He always does so well in the car, just looking out the windows and taking everything in.

He rode in the shopping cart for the first time. I should have taken a camera. He was just so adorable! R pushed the cart, and we tried to hurry. He only liked the cart when it was moving, and he did reach out and try to touch things if they were close. After about 20 minutes, we were almost finished, and we could tell he was reaching his limit. He was starting to rock his head back and forth, so we decided to go ahead and check out.

The car was hot from sitting in the sun in the parking lot, and he did not like that at all. We turned the AC on immediately. He's not used to this humid southern weather, and it's not even that hot here yet. We wonder how long it will take for his little body to adapt to the climate.

When we got home, I fixed his dinner right away. R started feeding him, and he started melting down. I took over, and he ate a little for me, but then just had a full blown meltdown in the highchair. I took him out of the highchair and sat him in my lap. He stopped crying, and then I was able to feed him while holding him, as if he were a much younger baby. He finished his dinner with no more tears. I was so happy that I figured out what to do that actually worked!

He was agitated for the rest of the evening, until we put him to bed. He calmed down long enough for R to rock him and give him a bottle, but as soon as the bottle was empty, he started fussing again.

So, we tried an outing, but it seemed to be too much for him, so we'll wait a while before we take him out again. Slow steps.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

a sibling for Eli

I’m pregnant.

11 1/2 weeks. Totally unexpected, a complete surprise and shock. I am 43 years old, and this is my first pregnancy. I would not have believed it was possible. The only way to explain it is that it is part of God’s plan for our family. We had talked about a 2nd child, a sibling for Eli, but we thought we would be adopting again in a few years. Now we will have 2 children, both in diapers, before the end of the year!

It is a blessing from God, but for the last month, it has also been a challenge. I have had morning sickness (I don’t know why they call it that when it’s 24/7) and have just been exhausted. Our 3rd trip to Russia was very hard, because I felt so ill while we were there. Right now, all the energy I have goes to Eli, to taking care of him and being there for him. It was not how I had pictured our first weeks together as a family. My mom and sisters have been very supportive, and have helped me so much! I’m so grateful to have them close by.

The last 3 days, Eli has been happier. R and I talked about his attachment issues, and we agreed he needs as much love as we can give him, and that we also need to be as calm as possible. The screaming/crying meltdowns are reduced. Now he is whining instead, which is much better! He is communicating with us verbally. I am giving him even more affection, especially when he is upset, and he is accepting it. I have been giving him lots of kisses on the forehead and cheeks, and he seems to like that, as well as patting his back, holding him, and rocking him more. He has started holding his arms up for me to pick him up, so that is an improvement. He has smiled and laughed more, so I’m hoping he’s starting to feel more comfortable, both with us and here in his home. In the last few days, I’ve really felt that the bond between us is deepening.

We will really be focusing on his attachment for the rest of this year. We’re worried about his reaction to the new baby, and we definitely don’t want it to affect his bond with us.

He continues to eat well, and looks like he has gained a little weight. I made mashed potatoes for him yesterday, and he loved those! He also had a Yo Baby yogurt for the 1st time, and loved that as well. I’m so thankful that he is not a picky eater.

He is very active and is more comfortable crawling and exploring the house. R moved the baby gate in the kitchen, so now the dining room and living room are completely enclosed as one baby safe unit! He is still pulling up on all the furniture, and he’ll take a few steps while hanging on to the couch, but no real walking yet.

So far, everything seems to be ok. I go back to the doctor on the 12th. Please pray for us, for the strength and energy to give Eli everything that he needs right now, and for the health of this new baby.



a sibling for Eli

I’m pregnant.

11 1/2 weeks. Totally unexpected, a complete surprise and shock. I am 43 years old, and this is my first pregnancy. I would not have believed it was possible. The only way to explain it is that it is part of God’s plan for our family. We had talked about a 2nd child, a sibling for Eli, but we thought we would be adopting again in a few years. Now we will have 2 children, both in diapers, before the end of the year!

It is a blessing from God, but for the last month, it has also been a challenge. I have had morning sickness (I don’t know why they call it that when it’s 24/7) and have just been exhausted. Our 3rd trip to Russia was very hard, because I felt so ill while we were there. Right now, all the energy I have goes to Eli, to taking care of him and being there for him. It was not how I had pictured our first weeks together as a family. My mom and sisters have been very supportive, and have helped me so much! I’m so grateful to have them close by.

The last 3 days, Eli has been happier. R and I talked about his attachment issues, and we agreed he needs as much love as we can give him, and that we also need to be as calm as possible. The screaming/crying meltdowns are reduced. Now he is whining instead, which is much better! He is communicating with us verbally. I am giving him even more affection, especially when he is upset, and he is accepting it. I have been giving him lots of kisses on the forehead and cheeks, and he seems to like that, as well as patting his back, holding him, and rocking him more. He has started holding his arms up for me to pick him up, so that is an improvement. He has smiled and laughed more, so I’m hoping he’s starting to feel more comfortable, both with us and here in his home. In the last few days, I’ve really felt that the bond between us is deepening.

We will really be focusing on his attachment for the rest of this year. We’re worried about his reaction to the new baby, and we definitely don’t want it to affect his bond with us.

He continues to eat well, and looks like he has gained a little weight. I made mashed potatoes for him yesterday, and he loved those! He also had a Yo Baby yogurt for the 1st time, and loved that as well. I’m so thankful that he is not a picky eater.

He is very active and is more comfortable crawling and exploring the house. R moved the baby gate in the kitchen, so now the dining room and living room are completely enclosed as one baby safe unit! He is still pulling up on all the furniture, and he’ll take a few steps while hanging on to the couch, but no real walking yet.

So far, everything seems to be ok. I go back to the doctor on the 12th. Please pray for us, for the strength and energy to give Eli everything that he needs right now, and for the health of this new baby.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

1st week at home

It has taken several days to write this post! As those of you with little ones know, there is just NO free time right now! We’ve been home with Eli for a little more than a week, and we are all adjusting to being a family. Our sweet baby is 11 months old now!

He is sleeping through the night. R takes him upstairs, rocks him for a few minutes, and then puts him in his crib around 7:00pm. If he cries, it’s only very briefly, and then he’s asleep within 10 minutes. Even though he is taking a morning and an afternoon nap, he gets so tired that he is very to go to sleep when bedtime comes. He sleeps until around 7:00am.

He is not a picky eater. So far, he has not refused anything we have given him! He has been eating stage 2 baby food, and we have just started introducing table foods, now that he is chewing. He gets excited when we feed him. He smiles and bangs on the tray of his highchair, and he’ll cry if we’re not feeding him fast enough! He is not able to feed himself at all at this point. He can’t pick up the food and bring his hand to his mouth. His fine motor coordination is definitely behind. He just doesn’t have much control over his hands yet. He can pick up toys, and he’ll pick up food sometimes, but then he’ll sling it to the side. So for now, we feed him as if he were a much younger baby. It does give us a chance to work on eye contact, and it’s good for attachment. We’re also giving him bottles (Enfamil Lipil), 3 per day. He definitely needed the extra vitamins. We will probably switch him to toddler formula next month, after his 1st birthday.

We are working on attachment. He will initiate eye contact. Sometimes when he’s crawling or playing on the floor, he’ll stop and turn to look at me. He will even make eye contact sometimes when he is eating, and that is a huge improvement. When I carry him, sometimes he’ll hold on now. Unless he’s really upset, he will snuggle against us when we hold him.

Our biggest challenge so far has been his periods of intense behavior/meltdowns. When he reaches his limit, he screams, kicks, waves his arms, shakes his head very fast (like he’s saying no), and/or flails. If we try to hold him, he arches his back and flings himself backwards. At first, we thought this was overstimulation. Last night I did some reading on www.a4everfamily.org, and I realized that it’s not just overstimulation. We are dealing with attachment issues. At times, he feels anxious and doesn’t trust us yet, which makes sense.

When he reaches this point, it is very hard to console him. That has been frustrating to me as a new mother, and as his mother. I want to DO something that will help him to feel better. Sometimes holding him and walking around helps. Sometimes music helps. But often, nothing helps other than putting him down for a nap or to bed a little early, and then he’s so exhausted, he falls asleep right away. We are doing everything we can to stay in a routine, so he feels secure, and to stay calm, so he can be relaxed. So far, we have only been at home. We haven’t taken him out in public (no church, stores, or restaurants). We’re going to continue to actively work on attachment - staying at home, staying close to him, feeding him, giving him bottles, rocking him, eye contact, holding him lots - so that he can feel secure and accept our love.

He LOVES music. When we turn music on, he’ll stop what he’s doing and turn his head! Listening to music will usually calm and relax him. He likes classical, especially Beethoven, Joshua Bell, and the 3 Tenors. He did not respond to Yo Yo Ma or Mozart. He also likes children’s music, especially Raffi, and christian radio. We’ve already talked about how he might need music lessons down the road if this interest continues!

He also loves to ride in the stroller. It is the most adorable thing to see! He puts his thumb in his mouth, and just looks at everything with a very serious expression on his face. I think the movement is calming.

I still look at him in amazement. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that he’s really here with us! God has truly blessed us.

Here are some photos from our 1st week at home: