Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baking with mama

One night this past week, Olivia and I made cookies together.

This was the first time that I have let her help and she did a great job!!! Rumor has it, she already helps with Grammy making muffins.
Oscar decided he would join in the fun. Did you really think we would leave him out?

Olivia gave a little bite to Oscar. Don't worry, we were done cooking at this point so her little hands didn't touch anything after she fed Oscar.

She is very satisfied with her cookies!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words....

....but today, today these pictures only bring one small sentence to mind. God is good!

Friday, August 19, 2011

6 months home!!

Can you believe that we have been home for 6 months? WOW! Where has the time gone? Why has life suddenly sped up now that she is home? I look back at pictures and can't believe how much has changed. I am going to share pictures from each month to show where we were vs. where we are now. I wouldn't trade this experience for ANYTHING! She has been through so much (and still transitioning in some ways) and has been amazing! I am so lucky to be her mom and be the one to help get her through all of this. I am lucky to get to watch her grow up. I am lucky that I get to wipe her tears, give her baths, change her diapers, and do all the daily mom things. I am one lucky girl!!!! Thank you Olivia for allowing us to love you and letting us into your heart. You have definitely made your way into mine. I love you little girl.
Now, lets make this thing legal!!!!

Still in her foster mothers arms (second visitation -- 2/16/11)

On the plane ride home. She was in shock, poor thing! (2/18/11)

We had just landed in the USA at the Atlanta airport. (2/19/11)

We had been home about a week here. (2/24/11)

Beginning to get out a we are at the park after a month home. (3/19/11)

Just having fun at home in April. (4/21/11)

In May she was helping me with the laundry. (5/24/11)

Enjoying Grampy's corn! (6/20/11)

Loving pool time with daddy! (7/14/11)

It is amazing to me when I look back through pictures to see how much has happened and how much has changed. I looked through many pictures to make sure that I found some that were taken close to the monthly 'family day!'
So glad that we are 6 months in....I can't wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for us!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Working at the car wash....

You know the song. Yep, bet it is stuck in your head now. :) Well, we are no car wash, but we ventured out to wash mine yesterday. It was NASTY! With Olivia's help we got it done. When I say help, as I would dry a spot, she would spray it down again.

Yes, I was soaked after this picture. I was just trying to protect the camera from getting wet. She thought it was hilarious!

Whenever I leave the pool, I always tie my towel around my waste. She insists on any towel that is used outside to be tied around her waist. This was the towel that we dried the car with. She was determined to get it fixed around her waist, so we finally helped. Yes, she had a really good bath later in the evening. :)

She 'helped' me clean the inside of my car. She looks a bit like Cruella De'Ville here the way she is scrunched over holding onto the steering wheel! I can tell she even has the underbite going for her in this picture. She is a laugh a minute!

Almost done, and look--she found a sucker that we had been holding out on her!

It was a long process, but we had fun!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bring home Greer and Sophie

Last night, we got in the car and headed out to a fundraiser to help bring home twins from Korea. I have met their mamma one other time (at the airport when Brodie came home), but was super excited to go and help bring home her sweet babies. There is something about adoption that makes you want to help others in anyway possible to get their kids home. I guess because we know the waiting feeling and that pain. After playing in the car for an hour and a half,

we arrived at a beautiful farm house. We were greeted by Annelyn running to us and then cought up with Leslie, Jeremy, and MaryLeigh.

We got settled and enjoyed a great dinner.
After dinner, April and her husband talked for a few minutes about their journey to the twins. Olivia is listening to them talk about the twins.

It is amazing how God calls us to adoption.

Olivia, Brodie, Bates, and Annelyn had fun running around during this time.

I got to meet some super nice people (one who I have followed her blog for quite some time and had no clue she lived in the area!) and then we looked at all the great stuff that was up for auction. It was getting late so we loaded up and before we even got to the main road, Olivia was snoozing. What a great Saturday night! Olivia has brought us so much joy in such a short time. We have met many wonderful people that, without this experience, we wouldn't have ever met. Adoption is an amazing gift!!! We are so lucky!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Barrel of Fun

A few weeks ago, Olivia slid her kitchen toys from the kitchen to the den and emptied ALL the contents. She then climbed into the tub. She had a ton of fun rolling around all over the den. Her hair had so much static, but she didn't mind. I miss these fun moments! Summer will come again! Looking forward to it already! :) We are still finding our new normal, but slowly we are getting there. We CAN do it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farm Girl

Yesterday, we went to our friends, Danyell and Jimmy's house to see their baby calves and horses. Since 'moo' was the first animal sound that Olivia made, it has been on our list of things to do. They have had two baby calves, and we wanted to see them before they are sold.

We finally got a date set and the animals did not disappoint. Jimmy had been out working all day hauling hay, but was so patient and sweet with Olivia. Olivia was a bit unsure,
but finally got close and fed her a piece of sugar.
Poor Jimmy tried to get her to get on with him, but she wasn't having it.
She went quickly to Danyell when she offered to sit up there. She loved it!!!
When she is a bit bigger we are hoping Jimmy will ride with her and teach her to ride. She really liked it out there.
We can't wait for another visit out to their farm.

After visiting with the animals, we went to eat at a local italian restaurant. What a great Saturday night!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One week down...

This week was a week of more 'first's' for our family. On Tuesday, I went back to work leaving Olivia here with John for the day. That was hard, but the hard part came when I left Olivia at mom and dad's on Wednesday. Knowing that was day one of 180 seemed sufficating to me. But, we made it! One week down. On Wednesday, Olivia had the entertainment of my cousin's two kids Mia and Ian.

They came Tuesday night to our house to swim and eat dinner, so I also got to enjoy their company.

When I left Olivia Wednesday morning, she seemed ok. I told her I would be right back and she pointed at me and said, "be back." She looked unsure as I headed out the door, but was not crying. Mom said she did really well when I picked her up Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure who was more, Olivia, or mom? Thursday, I left and she was reaching for me and crying. She was so tired. Mom said that passed quickly, but it weighed on me all day. Friday morning, we got up and had a few minutes at home before heading to my parents, and I think that helped both Olivia and me. We stayed home and played all day today and then enjoyed time with Jimmy and Danyell tonight (post on that tomorrow) :)
I can't help but wonder what Olivia is thinking? Did she wonder why we didn't put her in the car at the crack of dawn in her pj's today? Did the look of fear I saw in her eyes Wednesday when I handed her to mom with her bag make her think of when her fostermom handed her to me with a bag? Does she wonder why all of a sudden I am not spending all day with her? Does she think, "what did I do wrong?" since I am not with her all day now? These are just a few of my worries. Yes, I know her thoughts are probably not that complex at this point, but it still worries me. I wouldn't do anything to mess up all the progress that we have made. She has been through so much! In all honesty, I am also jealous of the time that mom and dad get to spend with her. I know....that is silly. However, when I get there to pick her up she prefers them initially. If she wants to be picked up, she goes to them to say up. I feel a bit like chopped liver for a while in the afternoons. I have to get over it, I know. I know it is dumb to feel that way, but everyday, everything we do, I still think about attachment. Other adoption friends will know and probably understand that irrational fear/worry. In my head, one of my worries is that she may think, "these people are fun...I can just stay here." Why wouldn't she want to live with someone else at this point. I mean, we have been fun for the last 5 1/2 months, but why not move on? Poor thing doesn't know any different at this point. The "mommy shopping" is something that most of you have never thought of unless you have adopted a child. It is something that is terrifying to me!!! I want her to know WE ARE IT! We are her mom and dad. I hate the feeling of that constant insecurity. When will that fade?
I don't do anything anymore without thinking, "how will this affect Olivia now? --in the longrun? Is this putting her first?" I know I have said it several times, but you couldn't have told me that I would be so in love with her at this point. I am not sure the day or time that it happened, but it happened. This girl has changed our lives and we are so blessed by that! We love her to pieces and I guess I am still worried about heartbreak. There is a lot of that in the adoption process -- on all sides!

Well, all in all, I think the week was successful. She had fun and I know my parents had fun with her being there. They are crazy about her. I can actually tell that dad is laughing with her while she is in the swing by looking at the side of his face in this picture.

Mom told me several things they did, and I know Olivia is having fun! She helped water the flowers, do laundry (she loves to "help"), played with toys, colored, got to swing, and much more! (where are pictures of all that stuff, Grammy?) :) Yes, I took my camera to their house for them to take pictures of her so I don't miss out.
I still hate that I have to drag her out of bed in the mornings, and I really dread the winter months. That just seems mean. I hate knowing that I don't get the majority of the hours in the day with her, but I know she is ok. I know she is being loved by her Grammy and Grampy. I also know that I am missing "firsts" and I am missing her goofy laugh. I am missing breakfast and lunchtime with her.
We will adjust. It will just take time. In the meantime I just keep telling myself, "smile and fake it till ya make it!" I can do this!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finding a "new normal"

I have written this post several times in my head. I know I am probably leaving out some of the thoughts I have had, and this may seem extremely scattered, but here goes.
I have dreaded this post for almost 6 months. Well, I shouldn't say 6 months because when Olivia first came home, I wanted to return to work and let John stay home with her. Work was the easy way out at that point. She was grieving so badly and didn't understand us. It was so hard. By June, as I have said before, Olivia and I bonded and attached to each other. Since February 19th, I have not been away from Olivia for more than 4 hours at a time. I have only done that a couple of times. I have run errands and been gone for a couple hours a couple of times, but we have pretty much been together 24/7. Today, I went to work and left Olivia here for what was our last 'real day of summer.' I went on to get some paperwork done prior to the year starting. I missed both of them all day.

Before I continue this post, I want to clarify that I love my job. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I am blessed to have the job that I have. This is my blog for Olivia and I am writing what is on my heart.
However, I am having a hard time returning to work. I will rise to the occasion when I have my students as I know I would want Olivia's teacher to be 100% mentally and physically there. So I will be. I treat my students as if they were my own.

But today and the next few will be hard. I dread leaving MY baby tomorrow morning. I dread not being the one to spend the most time with her during her day. I dread not getting to share breakfast with her, playing play-doh and enjoying each others company. In the last 6 months, my life has completely changed. It has changed in a way that I didn't know was possible. When I left for maternity leave, I remember saying, "oh, I will definitely not have trouble coming back to work. I would NEVER want to be a stay at home mom!"
I feel like I missed 18 (almost 19) months, and I don't want to miss another minute. She is such a precious little girl. I am very blessed that I will be taking her to my parents house to stay while I am at work, but my heart is still sad.
We have found our groove for the day and I am hesitant to see that change. I want to do it all well. My job, being a mom, being a wife, keeping a house, being a good daughter/sister, etc. I am worried that I will be doing many things, but what if I am not doing them well? My students deserve a teacher who is engaged and excited about the day. Olivia deserves a mom who isn't tired and ready to play pat-a-cake for the millionth time. John deserves a patient and happy wife. My house needs to be kept to my liking--clean and laundry done/put away. Meals need to be cooked. Not take out all the time. These are my concerns/fears of finding our 'new normal.' As I went to bed last night, John said, "I hope you have a good day at work tomorrow." I began to hysterically cry. I continued to cry until almost 1 a.m. I can't say that going tomorrow will be easy. I can't say that I won't cry all the way to work. I can say that I will do my best. I will try to leave Olivia in the morning with a smile and go to work and put a smile on my face. Really, no one wants to be with a 'Debbie Downer' all day, and I WILL NOT be that person. Fake it til' you make it, right? I think that saying helped me keep a smile and stay focused during our wait until we received our travel call.
I am not the first person to adopt a child and return to work. I am not the first mother that returns to work and leaves their child with someone else. I am not the first person to juggle so many things. I know that. However, I am entitled to my feelings and my heart is sad. My heart hurts for Olivia. She has had so much change and transition. I HATE that in such a short time she is now having to start a new routine. From the few days that I have been away (hours more like) I have noticed when I do come home that Olivia does not want to listen to me. She is more unsure of things and she is more likely to get into things that get her into trouble. I don't want to come home to a constant battle.
I know that in the long run, it will be beneficial for her to be away from me. I wish I could have it all....teach and stay home. It just isn't possible. I would love to have her home for the next year, but really, that is probably more for me. I know she will adjust and be fine. I know she will continue to learn. I know that she will laugh and be extremely well cared for and loved. I just want to be the one loving and caring for her. As I mentioned above, I never saw myself having all these feelings after my maternity leave and summer.
Tomorrow is a new day. I have to take one day at a time.

I guess I am having such a hard time because

this face and this girl

is someone I don't want to miss a minute of being with!

I love you Olivia Rae!