Monday, May 30, 2011

Sisters

When I pulled out Ellie's shirt this morning, she told me "Hailey."  She remembered that Hailey had brought it over to her!  I am just ecstatic that I have girls to wear these shirts.
 The Morrow's brought by some cookies on tonight, and we invited them in for a minute.  This stretched and stretched, because we were all having such a good time.  Ellie asked Hailey to give her a bath, and then she wanted Nick to give her hot milk.  We love this family so much!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lynlee's Blessing




Greg was able to bless our sweet Lynlee this morning.  I was worried that our ward would be completely overrun by our supportive family and friends, but with the holiday weekend enough people were gone that our guests just filled in the gaps.

One of the things that was most interesting to me in her blessing, was that she was blessed physically to be able to overcome the physical challenges she will have.  I know the key word there is overcome, but it makes me a little worried for what Lynlee will have to face in the future.

We are so grateful that Lynlee is a part of our family.  She is so sweet, and her birth mom is an angel.  I can hardly remember life before her!

We have had quite the weekend.  It started with spending the day in the temple Friday with Jonette and her family doing the work for Papa John, and then moved into Lynlee's sealing and blessing, and spending time with family and friends.  We also hosted a bbq, went to dinner at The Pie with all of the Spencers, celebrated Aunt Sharon's and Dad's birthdays, and hosted a brunch.

One of the funniest things all weekend came about because we were playing "Refraze," a game which gives you a clue like:  Grab the male bovine on his protuberances -- and you have to figure out the saying (take the bull by the horns).  Adam was not winning very many cards, and all of the sudden he got "as happy as a pig in slop."  (Have you heard that expression?  I haven't either.)  That quickly became the catchphrase of the weekend!

Ellie was also true to form, using the last syllable in names.  She called Lyssa, SA, and Adam, DUMB.

eating Pops' famous Campground Omelette

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lynlee's Sealing

We had an amazing celebration of Lynlee this weekend!  The party started when Pops and Pat got in Friday afternoon.
 Ellie was fascinated by Papa and Nana, and would go looking for them if they weren't with her.  She loved to show things to Nana, and to say "Papa Papa Papa."
 Aunt Robyn and Uncle Kevin came over for dinner on Friday night with Pops and Pat.  Greg, the girls and I went to dinner with the Spencers to celebrate Kiera's birthday, and were able to spend time with Robyn and Kevin when we got back.

 Saturday marked the beginning of the special events for Lynlee. I told myself we needed to leave around 10:30 to get to the Draper Temple in plenty of time for her sealing.  I got the girls ready in their special going-to-the-temple dresses and we were loaded up and leaving the house at 10:43.  A few minutes down the road, Greg asked if I remembered all of our paperwork.  I had forgotten, so we headed back to the house to get it.  We got to the temple 22 minutes late...




Even being late, everything went smoothly.  Julie was kind enough to stay in the Youth Center with the girls, and my mom went in also.  Lynlee did great during the sealing.  She (understandably) squawked a little when we had to hold her hand on ours, but that was all.  We are so appreciative to everyone who came to support us on this special day!

And now Lynlee is officially stuck with us forever.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Helmet casting...

...with good old-fashioned paper mache.

Lynlee was a champ during the 10 minutes it took to make a cast of her head.  The worker told me that most babies cry a lot and get really upset, which is understandable because this is new and strange and perhaps a little uncomfortable.  Lynlee just bounced on my knee (her favorite thing to do), and only cried when it came time to take the cast off.  I had to hold her arms at the elbows and pull down a little to lower her shoulders, while the worker loosened the cast and pulled it off.  She did not like that at all, and neither did I!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Infertility

 I was just reading the April 2011 Ensign, and there was an article on "Faith and Infertility."  It made me think about my journey.  I have always had maintained the idea that those who were fertile have a bigger responsibility to multiply and replenish than I do.  I just mean that the decision is completely out of my hands - I have no control over how many children will join our family, or when they will come.  Those who can conceive when they want have to carefully and prayerfully decide, and I think that is a harder path.  How do you know when you are done, or when to try for the next one?

Sister Beck was telling a story in Women's Conference about a woman who had 8 children, and the comments complete strangers, and even her family members, would make to her about her "lifestyle choices."  This woman said that having children wasn't a lifestyle choice, it was a gospel choice.  Then Sister Beck said (paraphrasing from memory) that it is rare, even in the Church, to find a woman where the desire and the ability to conceive 8 children collide.

I say, HALLELUJAH for the women who have the desire and the ability colliding in them!  I praise people like Eva, who just gave birth to twins (#10 and #11).  I am amazed by her goodness and desire to have a large family.  Eva is my former neighbor, and someone who (I'm sure without knowing it) has always been an example to me.  In the midst of our infertility testing, before we were really telling people about our struggles, I watched Eva have child #3.  And then #4.  And then #5.  And then I found out she was younger than me.  I was always excited for her and her babies, and so happy that she was having children and putting up with comments like, "are these all yours?" 

My roundabout thoughts this morning are ending here, with this fabulous poem (also from the April 2011 Ensign).  I love Ellie and Lynlee so much, and I am so grateful that their lives collided with mine.

Just the Same


Sometimes—
God sends rain
Straight from the sky
To nourish the young flower
and it grows.
Sometimes—
God sends rain from the sky
To the mountaintops,
Then over hills and through valleys
Until it reaches the flower
and it grows, just the same.
Sometimes—
God sends a child
Straight from His realm
Into a mother’s arms
and love grows.
Sometimes—
God sends a child
From heaven to another’s arms,
Then over hills and through valleys
Until he reaches the arms of his mother
and love grows, just the same.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Piano Recital

Another school year, another recital, another success.  All of these amazing people performed well!  

It was a personal victory for Tyler, who played the way he and I know he can play. 

It was amazing to see star-student Jacob play his Festival pieces (because he did not play at Festival) with confidence, especially since he was headed to his Eagle Scout board of review immediately following the performance.  

It was a success for Madelin, who tackled an arrangement of Moonlight Sonata, the hardest piece she has ever attempted.  

It was a reprise for Sadie, who received honors at Festival, and we knew she needed to perform her favorite piece again.  

It was a piece of cake for Syreese, who took on Arabesque by Burgmuller and had it memorized in 2 weeks.  

It was a crowning achievement for McKinzie, who learned Clair de Lune in 3 weeks, and moved me to tears with her phrasing and dynamics.  (Can I just say that this amazing girl has far surpassed my piano abilities?  She really needs to find a new teacher -- wink wink).  

And it was fun to see how much Jace and Cassie have grown under Rachel's tutelage.
Ellie had to be in the picture - and you notice that she had to have Sadie holding her, and not mom!



Ellie loved this rocking chair and loved showing off for everybody.
Ellie loves Madelin and Sadie!

New Video from Jon Schmidt & Steven Sharp Nelson

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lynlee 6 month Doctor Appointment

Lynlee is such a good baby.  She wanted to be asleep when we were at the doctor, but she just patiently let the nurse measure her and the doctor prod her.  Until she was done - which was just about the time the doctor was looking in her mouth.  Then it was tears through the end of the exam, through her shots, through getting dressed, until she was in her car seat with her blanket and binkie and all snuggled up.  She was asleep and had her binkie spit out by the time we were at the front desk making her 9 month appointment.

Stats at 6 months old:
Length: 25.5 inches ~ 50th percentile
Weight: 18 pounds 7 ounces ~ 90th percentile
Head Circumference: 43.25 cm ~ 75th percentile




Ellie is trying to trace her own hand
 Ellie loved going to the doctor with Lynlee.  We watch a lot of our videos on youtube, and one of Ellie's favorites is of Lynlee getting shots at her last appointment.  So when I told Ellie that we were going to the doctor with Lynlee, the first thing E said was, "shots."  And the second we walked into the office, Ellie said, "oh, shots."  And when the nurse came in, --- well, you get the idea!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Court

This morning we went to court to finalize Lynlee's adoption.  Court is very formal, and I understand why you would need to be careful to follow all of the procedures.  Our judge was very personable and told us he loved to preside at adoptions.

I did spent quite a few moments pondering on Lynlee's birth mom and her choice to place Lynnie in our family.  What a choice!  What a sacrifice!  How amazing she is!
Lynlee woke up as the case worker was testifying

waiting for the judge to finish signing paperwork


Lynlee's headband was a gift from her birth mom


After the hearing, we went to breakfast with Bobi and my mom.  Ellie was playing with my necklace while we were waiting for our food, and then, of course, had to put it on Greg.
Lynlee was trying to fall asleep in the restaurant...

...as soon as we were in the car, both girls fell asleep

Monday, May 16, 2011

Car Seat and Rattle

Ellie is fascinated by Lynlee's car seat, but this time made sure she got in with a baby and a blanket.  "Shhh," she told me, "the baby is sleeping."
 Lynlee has discovered how fun it is to shake a rattle!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lots of Playing

Ellie and Lynlee are fascinated with each other!  They seem to always be aware of where the other one is.  I love that you can see Lynlee watching Ellie in the picture.
 We took a trip to the Dinosaur Museum with my friend Beth.  Ellie jumped right in, and loved digging in the sand.

 Lynlee rolled from her back to her front, all by herself on Saturday!  I have been "helping" her for a while now, and it paid off.
 So proud of herself - and she should be!  And then, she starts to tip...

 ...and over she goes!  Lynlee is such an overachiever, she rolled from her front to her back as well.  Pretty impressive!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Adoption Myths

I know that I am an adoption advocate (for obvious reasons).  Greg and I have always described adoption, and especially the act of placement, as brutal.  I found a fabulous website that describes adoption as "painful beauty."  That is more descriptive and fabulous.

One of my favorite pages on Love's Choice is the "Common Misconceptions of Adoption."  Here is what it says:

Common Misconceptions of Adoption

People have a lot of things to say about adoption.  Good things, bad things, scary things, crazy things.  Things they saw in a movie, heard on the radio, read in the news, were told by a friend, or even experienced themselves.  So how do you know which things are true?

There are no simple answers, of course, especially to those who have personally had difficult experiences with adoption.  The good news, though, is that the overwhelming majority of adoptions turn out just fine.  Below are some common myths about adoption and our answers to them based on the most current research available.  As always, feel free to write to us if you have any questions!
~ Shannon

1) MYTH: Adopted children are not as well adjusted as those who live with both biological parents.

FACT: Adopted children grow up to be just as balanced and socially adept as an average cross section of their peers who grew up with one or both biological parents [Borders, et al, 2000] [1].  Also, adopted people have more positive views of family and marriage stability than those from alternative families such as those with divorced parents or a single parent. They are more likely to desire to get married and have children of their own when they settle down than those from alternative families [Hamilton, et al, 2007] [2].

2) MYTH: The relationship between parents and an adopted child cannot be as strong as that of a biological parent-child relationship.

FACT: Although adoptive relationships may take more effort than relationships in biological families, it is very possible for adoptive parent-child relationships to be just as close as the average biological parent-child relationship. Studies have shown that parent-child relationships are not dependent on biological ties [Passmore, et al, 2005] [3].

3) MYTH: Adoptive parents are less involved in their children’s lives than the average biological family.

FACT: Actually, adoptive parents tend to be more involved in their children’s lives than the average biological family. They are significantly more involved in parent-teacher conferences and volunteering in school functions. Also, adoptive families are more likely to eat meals together, be involved in extracurricular activities, and read more books together [Hamilton, et al, 2007] [2].

4) MYTH: If I place my child for adoption, I have no idea what kind of family they will end up in or if they will be raised in foster care.

FACT: In open and semi-open adoptions, most adoption agencies allow the birthmother to personally select the family her child is placed in as well as the kind of people they are.  Even if you choose a closed adoption, you can still choose an adoption agency that guarantees that your child will be adopted immediately. Screening processes for the families are extensive, especially if you choose an agency with a well designed screening process. You can also give the agency information on the type of family you would like chosen, including factors like religion, age, number of other children, race, and whether the mother stays at home. [4].

5) MYTH: Adoption is just another form of abandonment.

FACT: By making a plan for adoption, you are recognizing that you may not be able to give your child everything she needs to grow up healthy and with every opportunity at a stable life. Choosing adoption requires a selflessness that puts your child’s well being above your own feelings or desires. There is a big difference between caring enough to find a good home for your child and abandoning your child out of fear.  Adoption is a selfless act of love.

6) MYTH: After the adoption is finalized, the birth mother is abandoned with no support to overcome the loss.

FACT: The majority of agencies offer post-adoption counseling to help the birthmother cope with the loss of her child. There are also pregnancy resouce centers that offer counseling and support for those who have placed thier child for adoption.  The months following the adoption of your child can be an emotional roller coaster, but you don’t have to go through the experience alone.


[1] [Borders, L. D., Penny, J. M., Portnoy, F., Adult Adoptees and their Friends: Current Functioning and Psychosocial Well-being. Family Relations. Minneapolis: (2000). 49 (4). p. 407-419.]

[2] [Hamilton, L., Cheng, S., Powell, B. Adoptive Parents, Adaptive Parents: Evaluating the Importance of Biological Ties for Parental Investment. American Sociological Review. Albany: (2007). 72 (1). P 95-117.]

[3] [Passmore, N., Fogarty, G. J., Bourke, C. J., Baker-Evans, S. F. Parental Bonding and Identity Style as Correlates of Self-Esteem Among Adult Adoptees and Nonadoptees. Family Relations. Minneapolis: (2005). 54 (4) p. 523-534.]

[4] [http://public.findlaw.com/bookshelf-mdf/mdf-7-1.html]

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Playing

Our girls are so good that it is easy to take a shower.  This morning, Ellie brought in baby dolls and "cloths" for her babies, and tickled Lynlee.  Lynnie played with her butterfly (that jingles when you shake it) and kicked off a sock by scooting.

now, where did that sock go?
 I usually keep the diaper bag up high, but it was under the desk this morning, so Ellie capitalized.  She wanted to "change" her baby and had fun figuring out how to put the diaper on.
 Sweet Lynlee is really good in her bouncer now, and has grown so much that I probably need to raise it up a level!
 Hailey and Brinn stopped over with eggs, and stayed to play.  Ellie was in heaven!

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