Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two!!

It's hard to believe that the Peanut is two! She decided to celebrate turning two with a bang and threw a spectacular temper tantrum in Meijer (which resulted in her learning that even birthday girls have to behave if they are going to ride the horsie!). She also started potty training that day and has used the potty consistently the last three days (despite being a bit sick yesterday). Way to go, Sissy!

She is talking non stop, and I'm understanding most of what she says (and if I don't understand it, she just yells it louder and louder). She loves to play with her new doctor kit and has been busy developing her drawing skills on the Magnadoodle she got for Christmas (which was wonderful to have in the car for the long trip to PA and back!). She loves her brother dearly and walks around like a little lost soul if she wakes up before him. She's both sassy and sweet, and we definitely can't imagine life without her!





To read my post from the day she was born, go here . (We originally named her Abigail and then decided to keep her birthname, so don't let the name confuse you!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma B.

We spent the last week in PA, dividing our time between Mark's parents' house and my parents' house. We got to see all of our siblings and were even in town for my sister Lauren's college graduation. A lot happened during our 10 day trip, including two Christmas celebrations, an early birthday celebration for Sissy, many contractions (resulting in a several hour stay at the hospital on Christmas Day), Steven's first time ever throwing up (which he was very proud of since it meant he was "just like you, Mommy!") and a new (to us) minivan! I'll try to blog about most of those at some point, but tonight I just have the pictures from my parents' house.

My family does most of our celebrating on Christmas Eve (which worked out esp. well since I already mentioned that I was at the hospital for part of Christmas Day). We went to the early Christmas Eve service, where Steven was scared of the video clips of the Grinch (the movie version, not the cartoon), and then went home for our traditional dinner--pizza and shrimp cocktail. My mom also made her usual assortment of cookies (including egg/nut-free ones for Michelle), chocolate covered pretzels, and fudge, but after Steven threw up everywhere, most of us lost our appetite :(

We then read the Christmas story out of the kids' Bible, and my mom helped Steven and Michelle re-enact it with her angels and plastic nativity set. The kids were really interested, and at the end, we all blew out candles for Jesus' birthday. I think that will be part of our tradition from now on (since Michelle's birthday is so close to Christmas, I don't want to do a cake). After that, we opened gifts before going to bed. The kids did really well considering how late we were up (and how short their naps were). I'm so thankful for the time we got to spend with my family even if it didn't go how we had planned!

Waiting for the story to begin.

Watching Grandma and the angels.

Checking out the ornaments on the tree.
Right before he tackled her to the ground. . .
Playing with his train set from Uncle Andy.

Watching Grandpa's train go around the tree.

After the Christmas Eve service.

An attempt at a family picture
(before I almost dropped Michelle because of the contractions it was causing).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three Years Ago Today

We became a family of three! Steven James, we are so blessed to have you in our lives!!






Thursday, December 16, 2010

Halloween!

Now that I have a way to download pictures, I figured I should post a few of the ones from this fall that I couldn't get to before. Here are our little bumblebee and fire fighter :)




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chuck E. Cheese!

For Steven's birthday, we went to Chuck E. Cheese with Grandpa Hal, Nanny, and Uncle Andy when they were out for Thanksgiving. It had been a while since we had been there, and the biggest change I noticed was that the kids wanted to do the games instead of the rides (of course, that could have been because we sat on the side by the games and not the rides).

Chuck E. Cheese can be really expensive, but they have a ton of coupons available that make it quite affordable. I've signed up for e-mail coupons, and then I also registered the kids' birthdays to get them free tokens (no purchase necessary!). On their website, you can also print off reward calendars that get each kid 10 free tokens (with a food purchase). There is no limit to the number of coupons you can use in one visit, so we stack them all. This last visit cost right around $30, and we got two pizzas (one large, one medium), four drinks, and between 80 and 100 tokens. Not too bad for a night out with five adults and two kids!
















Monday, November 22, 2010

THREE!!!

I can't believe the little boy turned three today! We didn't do much at all for his birthday today, but we celebrated it a few weeks ago with my family and are celebrating with Mark's family this weekend. Here are a couple pictures from earlier this month.


The Mickey Mouse fan with his Mickey Mouse balloon from the dollar store!


Egg-free cupcakes are still pretty yummy, esp. with sprinkles on top!



First time trying pop rocks, and they got in the nose!



Wearing his skateboarding outfit--now he's just like his hero, Shaun White :)


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

22 Weeks


Don't miss the other two posts from today :)

Visit with Auntie E

I realized that I never updated after our visit with Auntie E and the kids. We decided at the last minute to meet at a McDonald's, and it went really well. Steven always gets a little overwhelmed by the big kids loving on him, so I usually have to intervene and tell them to give him a chance to warm up to them again. Thankfully, he's doing a lot better now that he's older and remembers them between visits. He knows all their names and likes to talk about them, and I know his anxiety will lessen with each visit. Michelle, as usual, just goes with the flow and runs around like crazy. She also had her own way of dealing with the smothering at one point--they were a little too intense with her, and she responded by spitting up all over one of her brothers. Oh well, she got some space after that :)

I had Michelle wear her new "I'm a Big Sister!" shirt with a jacket over it, and shortly after they got there, one of her older sisters took off Michelle's jacket. It was sooner than I planned on doing it, but I asked Auntie E if she noticed Michelle's shirt, and at first, she was like "Oh that's nice." I told her to look again :) She was really excited for us and said that she was going to cry. We didn't know the gender at that point, and she said she hoped it was a boy so Michelle would be the only girl.

We spent several hours together, just chatting while the kids played. Steven never climbed through the play area, but he was happy hanging out in the bottom area. He gets really timid in new situations, and there was no way I was going in the climbing thing with him! Michelle went with her sisters, but Steven just didn't feel like it, I guess. He did run around like crazy, though, so I know he had a good time. I also found out that he gets his very (overly at times) sensitive nature from his birthfather and that his full brother is the same way. That really fascinated me because I never really thought of that as being a genetic trait. It's amazing how much he and his one brother are alike (Mark even got them confused during our spring visit!), and they are definitely their birthfather's kids (and Steven is actually a junior after his birthfather). I love learning these little things about them!

I once again made the mistake of waiting until the end of the visit to try to get a group picture, but we did get some hilarious ones of the three boys. Unfortunately, another kid kept getting into the picture, so I finally got up and told him that I didn't know him, so I didn't need him in the picture.

We will probably go up to visit again as a family next month for a combined Christmas/birthday visit. Last year, we met up at Chuck E. Cheese's, but there was a shooting at it earlier this year, so we've been meeting at other restaraunts and parks. I don't think we'll go until mid December, or even early January. I need some time to figure out Christmas presents for Auntie E and the kids (we don't do birthdays with them, so I try to get/make something for them for Christmas). Any suggestions??

Family (Updated with Pictures)






I still haven't found my camera card adapter (not that I've actually looked), so I don't have any pictures to post :( However, I figured that I'd write at least a quick update on how we're doing.

This past week my parents and Katie came out to visit us, and it was so nice to see them again. The kids always LOVE it when they come, and we celebrated Steven's birthday a few weeks early with them. (I told him it was his "pretend birthday.") It was nice to have the extra help since I'm still not feeling great. I'm thankful that I'm no longer throwing up every day, but I'm still throwing up at least a couple times a week (despite being on two anti-nausea meds). I don't really expect it to go away at this point (it never did for my mom), but maybe I'll get lucky :)

My mom and I (and Katie at times) went shopping and bought a few Christmas presents, mainly for the kids. Mark and my dad went to the University of Michigan game on Saturday and sat in the 8th row. I think it was the highlight of the visit for Mark :) The other highlight for us was when the kids had pop rocks for the first time. That was priceless, esp. when Steven got some in his nose! I'm bummed we don't have it on video.

My family left on Sunday, and Mark's sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids (4 weeks and 12 months) came in on Monday. They were only here overnight, but it was fun to see them and get to meet baby Aaron. They are currently in Western Michigan candidating at a church. If they end up moving there, they'll only be two hours away. While they were here, we exchanged gifts for several birthdays--Steven's, Tori's, and Mark's (which was yesterday). Thankfully, Michelle didn't seem to care that she wasn't getting anything. She had fun seeing what Steven got and playing with the balloons we bought for them when my family was out. I'm not sure Steven will be so easy going when it's her turn, though!

I'm hoping that Katie uploads her pictures from this past weekend soon. Once she has them on Facebook, I should be able to save them and put them on here. The kids are getting tall. It's hard to believe that they are almost 2 and almost 3!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's a. . .

GIRL!!! I am soooo excited!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Still Here

I can't believe it's been over two months since I've last posted :( I'm still here, still pregnant, and still sick (just threw up again this morning, and I'm 17 weeks!). I'm on two different anti-nausea drugs that do help, but they obviously don't completely take care of the problem.

I have been doing a lot better in the last few weeks. At the end of August, I couldn't keep anything down for close to a week and had to go in for iv fluids. My mom and Katie then came to help out with the kids for a week while my dad was traveling.

I'm up to about 50/50 on good days and bad days. It's really hard with the kids at time, but we're all making it. Steven just knows that my tummy hurts a lot, but we've been careful to not connect my being sick to the baby that is coming, and so far, he hasn't made the connection on his own. Michelle is just her usual self, but at first, they both were acting up more because their life was all out of order when I had to stay in bed for days at a time.

I haven't taken pictures in months (just found my camera last night after realizing that neither Mark nor I knew where it was), but the kids and I are going to see Auntie E this afternoon, so maybe I'll get her to take a belly picture for me :) She doesn't know about the baby yet, so that is part of the purpose for our trip. We haven't been up there since Birthmother's Day this spring, so we are a bit overdue for a visit. We've just been putting off telling her about the baby, and I've been way too sick to make plans anyways.

If you read this in time, please pray for our visit and for her to have a positive reaction. In the past, when I mentioned that we wanted four kids, she was shocked that we'd want more than the two that she'd placed with us. I was a bit taken back by her reaction, but I did remind her that she has four kids :) I just don't want her to feel displaced or to think that we'll somehow love this child more than the other two just (I cannot imagine how that would even be possible!).

Well, I had better start getting ready. One of my triggers is brushing/washing my hair, and that definitely has to be done before the visit :( I am so ready to be done with all the sickness!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Morning Sickness

The morning sickness is getting worse and worse :( Today, I'm not even keeping liquids down, so the doctor is calling in a prescription for me. Please pray that it helps!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chicken Pox and Morning Sickness (aka It Never Really Ends Around Here!)

Yep, you read that right. It's always something at our house, and our most recent adventure is chicken pox. Michelle broke out last Monday, and it took me a while to realize what it was. She looked like she had bug bites all over her arms, shoulder, and legs, and since she is dark skinned, they weren't red. I was feeling sorry for her and trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong, and when I came home from work, it hit me.

I quickly searched online for pictures of chicken pox, esp. ones of dark skinned kids with chicken pox, but it was still hard to tell. Since she was just breaking out, she just had blisters, not scabs like I expected. However, all the descriptions matched, and by Tuesday morning, it was clear that she had chicken pox.

Thankfully, she has a relatively mild case (which fits since she had the apparently less-than-effective vaccine at her 12 month visit). Her torso and most of her face is clear, but the poor kid's arms and legs are covered. I don't know if I've mentioned this on here before, but she has a very, very high pain tolerance. That has come in handy because other than Monday/Tuesday, she hasn't acted sick at all. I think she's past the contagious part now, but we're keeping her home from church tomorrow anyways. We'll see if Steven breaks out in the next 1-2 weeks.

Oh, and morning sickness. See the ticker up there? We found out two weeks ago (the week between Michelle being in the hospital and then getting the chicken pox) that we are expecting a baby. We're still in shock :) Baby #3 is due March 15!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Catching Up

The last two weeks have been chaotic, and a lot of that was because of Michelle's asthma. In her first couple days home, we were in and out of doctor's office and the ER. We discovered that she is allergic to the inhaled steroid they prescribed as a maintainance medicine. She first reacted on Wednesday night, and in addition to having swelling red patches, she was burning up and struggling to breathe.

We rushed her to the pediatric ER and were told that no one is allergic to inhaled steriods and that her fever was causing the breathing problem (similar to a dog panting). They gave her motrin, which took away the fever and the breathing problems, and the benadryl we gave her on the way to the hospital took care of the swelling. The doctor said no one is allergic to the inhaled steriods (which I questioned).

She was still burning up on Thursday, so I gave her tylenol every couple hours and was in contact with the doctor's office thoughout the day. We also were continuing with her breathing treatments. When I gave her the inhaled steroids, I stripped her clothes and waited for her to swell, and she did :( I started taking her to the ER again, but halfway there, the benadryl kicked in, so we turned around and went to the doctor's office. The doctor confirmed that she was allergic to the medication and said that she was probably coming down with either pneumonia or a bronchial infection and gave her antibiotics for it.

By Friday night (7 days after this all started), her eyes cleared up, and Sissy was starting to look good again. Her fever was gone Saturday morning, so we were finally able to go back to church (it'd been 6 weeks since we'd been in our church!).

We took her to her allergist, who is also an asthma specialist, on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a treatment plan. We were continuing to do albuterol breathing treatments several times a day, but the doctor wanted us to do that only as needed. Michelle is now taking a chewable Singular tablet once a day, and starting tomorrow, will only be having breathing treatments as needed.

Michelle is definitely back to her perky, feisty, determined little self and is working on new words and commands ("more grapes!") every day. We are so blessed to have her happy and healthy again!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Sissy's Home!!

Michelle was doing well enough that we got to bring her home earlier today! We had originally anticipated bringing her home yesterday morning, but her oxygen levels dropped during the night Saturday, so she had to stay until she could sleep without supplemental oxygen.

Michelle definitely has asthma, and it is pretty severe. We have to give her breathing treatments every four hours (including at night), and she has a follow up visit with her pediatrician on Wednesday afternoon. Depending on how she is doing at that time, we may be able to decrease the number of treatments she gets each day. I am sure that sometime soon we will be meeting with her allergist again. We were pleased to learn that he specializes in asthma, and that is a huge blessing. Michelle's pediatrician was glad to hear that he is her allergist.

Thank you for all your prayers, but please don't stop praying. We have a long road ahead of us as we adjust to a new way of life. We don't know exactly what we'll be doing long term, but we are thankful for a God who not only is there with us each step of the way but also provides for all of our needs. We have already had to spend a couple hundred dollars on her breathing machine, and I have no idea what kind of bills we're going to get from this weekend. Needless to say, we are very thankful for health insurance!

I'll be sure to update you again after her appointment on Wednesday. Again, we appreciate your prayers for Michelle, our family, and her doctors.

God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Please Pray for Michelle

Last night around 1:30/2:00, I took Michelle to the ER because she was really struggling to breathe. She received several breathing treatments and was on oxygen before we were transferred by ambulance to a better hospital. She was tired, cranky, and hungry (and I was getting there too!), but the breathing treatments were helping. Late this morning, right after Mark and Steven arrived, she was moved to her own room. It is a huge room with a nice size tv, dvd/vcr player for her favorite videos, bathroom/shower (way bigger than the one on our cruise!), and a very cute plush teddy bear just for her.

The plan was for Steven and me to take off since I haven't slept since Thursday night. However, we waited around until she was settled in, had at least one more breathing treatment, and were confident that Mark was sufficiently up to speed.

She is scheduled to have treatments every three hours (so she should have just had one), and they started her on steroids. When I checked in with Mark, she was playing but starting to slow down, which was good since she only slept until 1:30 or so last night and then took a 1 1/2 hour nap in the ER before they transferred her to her room.

The current plan is for Steven and me to catch up on some sleep and then head back to the hospital. Either Mark will return home with Steven or he'll go to a friend's house. We're just waiting to see how things go.

I was told this morning that Michelle would be there overnight. We're praying that she isn't there longer. At this point, they don't know what is causing the breathing problems. They have ruled out pneumonia through chest x-rays (so fun to do at 2:30 in the morning!). We really believe that it's asthma, but the doctors are hesitant on that right now. From what I understand, they don't like to diagnose it before the age of 3. However, with her medical history, it makes sense. Her allergist all but said that she'd develop asthma and that it was just a question of when, not if. At this point, there is no indication that this is an allergic reaction.

Thank you for praying for Michelle, for us, for the medical staff, for Steven, and for our families. My dad has been sending out updates through Facebook and Twitter, and I'll do my best to update when I can. However, I'm hoping to be asleep for quite a few hours :)


Monday, July 5, 2010

Adoption Blessings on Etsy

I started making hairbows for Michelle earlier this year, and because of all the compliments I'd get on them (you have to admit they are stinking cute!), I decided to start selling them online. I've been very busy building inventory, and I now have over 50 different ones for sale. You can check out the complete list of them under Adoption Blessings on Facebook or see the majority of them at my etsy shop, AdoptionBlessings. Custom orders are always welcome too, of course!

All the hairbows/flowers are on fully lined alligator clips, and all ribbon ends are heat sealed to prevent fraying. I also stitch together the korkers (instead of just bundling them), so your child, if she's anything like Michelle, won't be able to rip them apart. The only advantage of Michelle's distructiveness is that I've refined and reinforced all my items. If she can't destroy, I doubt anyone can!

Korkers--$3.50





Large Flowers (5")--$5.50


Small Flowers (2"-3")--$3.50


Butterflies--$4.00



These make great gifts, so even if you don't have a little girl, you probably know one who'd love one! The large flowers also look great in Mommy's hair too! Again, check out AdoptionBlessings on etsy for about 35 more options!