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Second Christmas

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What a blessing to share another Christmas with our son. We were able to reflect on our Christmas from last year with our fifteen day old son. We were already blessed more than we could have imagined and this year has only brought more joy. We had bits of sadness losing both of my grandparents, but I can never complain for having them in my life for 33 years. I just wish they could have experienced the joy of Callen. Time is like that…we are not guaranteed tomorrow so we live boldly by faith today. I pray to live in the moment in 2014 and appreciate each new day as a gift. I know how quickly it all can change and in a minute you can go from normal to chaotic.

The pics above were taken by kellyaguilaraphotography. She is amazing and has taken every photo shoot of Callen from his newborn pics to our Forever Family photos to our one year and Christmas card shoot. I love how patient she is with us and how she has an eye to get just the right shot that comes out perfect. I was fortunate to get his month by month pics as he grew each new month and even made a brochure of each month including all his milestones and new advancements. The first six months were an adoption requirement, but the last six was just for my memory and baby book. I am still living as if he is our one and only and doing every little thing I can dream and hope to do…if he is our last then I would have lived it to the full. If he is not, then our second will probably only have half of this as the newness would have worn off 🙂

THe good news is: This year has been a blessing and I pray for continued good health and growth. This next year will bring some new experiences: weaning off the bottle, switching to milk and solids only, walking and running, talking both to me and back at me, figuring out his ever growing shoe and clothes size and so much more, but mostly loving, laughing and sharing our hope in Jesus Christ. Brint it on, 2014-we will live life with joy and to the fullest!

Happy Halloween!

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So blessed to celebrate his first Halloween this year! We also got the gift of taking him to his first State Fair this month! We have been giddy with joy entering into his tenth month of life because all these new things are his and our firsts. This time last year, we still had not gotten the call that we had been chosen for him. In fact, we were simply waiting but not knowing what or whom we were waiting for or for how long. We prayed and trusted, but could not even dream because the possibilities were too big. Now, to see it all come to life is surreal and so joyful. Last year, we were talking about all the “what ifs” and now it is better than we could have imagined.

He is growing so fast. He is standing and moving around on his feet, but not walking yet. He is crawling everywhere and getting braver to go new places. He is eating more table food and making us laugh…we keep him rolling also. All in all, God’s plans were perfect and beyond what we could ask or imagine.

The good news is: we got his birth certificate today! Most parents this is a normal right of passage, but for us it was the completion of a long and difficult process. A process worth taking, but one filled with so much faith and trust that we had NO control. I have never been so led by blind faith that God was leading me to a place I did not know and honestly wished I did not have to go. In the end, we are where we are meant to be and God loves me more than I deserve.

Lupus Found Me…

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You may be saying “Dang girl, what’s up with all the posts?” The answer is simple, I have no idea when I will post again (took me two months to log in) so while baby is sleeping and I feel good then I am posting all my pent up thoughts so I don’t feel bad when I go back to not posting.

The pic above of the family is our first day of school pic! My husband had his first day of class and so did I …baby boy went to his baby school aka…grandma’s! Love that this was our first day of school as a parent!!!

You read by the title Lupus found me. I was flare free and feeling good all summer and that was with the hot sun! Yes, running around the park and playing soccer outdoors was not smart…I got a huge rash to prove it wasn’t my best idea, but I could do it. I swam almost every other day with baby boy…we did swim lessons and lots of visits to the park. Yes, we were the crazy parents that took like a hundred pics each day of the swim lesson. I held him one day so dad could take pics then we switched. Even with all that sun, I managed to be stress free and well rested to avoid any flares.

Then school started.

From the first week of staff development the flares began to build. I could feel the chills, the fevers came back, the rashes were on my face, arms and neck and that was just the beginning. By the first day of school, I could not move in the morning. Every joint was throbbing in pain. To turn over and turn off the clock was a battle. Getting out of bed was work. The first thing I did in the morning was take an anti-inflammatory pill. By midday, I felt better but by the end of the day I was exhausted. I began to take 5 hour energy for the first time. I could not last all day. I lost my voice, I began to get the whole sexy raspy thing that is only cool for a day. Going to bed at nine was a gift, but that meant SO much did not get done around the house or in the classroom. I was literally making it day by day. For the first time I felt like this is the invisible disease. From the outside I look fine, but inside I am hurting and just getting to work was a huge accomplishment. I googled Lupus flare more than I ever did before and I actually related to a video that described Lupus as the disease where “you don’t look sick” I understood the spoon theory that every choice I made meant I had a little less to give later. What made it all worse, is that I committed to do a half marathon in my summer I feel great days and running was no longer an option. I felt bad for not training, but I had nothing to give.

Thank God I began to do a daily devotional because I needed the prayers and affirmations. To be honest, I have been in a flare from the middle of August until now when I got back on Prednisone. I weaned myself off it, but now I am back to 5 mg a day. Not much for most, but I know have to wean myself back off it later. For now, I feel better than I have felt in over a month. I can be up at this hour typing and not wanting to sleep forever. I can pick my son up in the morning instead of grimmacing and praying I don’t drop him. I can turn in the middle of the night without waking myself up in pain. I can open bottles and bend my fingers. I can walk. I can bend my knee. Lupus affects my skeletal system the most and it hit hard for the last month. I got depressed again, I was afraid I would not be able to do my job, I thought that my life would be lived in pain forever. I questioned going on disability…it was bad. I did not want to take the meds, but finally realized I have to and I have to keep taking them until we figure out a different plan.

It finally clicked to take the Prednisone and keep taking it everyday. I first thought that once I felt better then I could stop, but my body was addicted again and stopping meant hurting. I feel so much better that I forgot what it felt like to feel normal. Again, I know now that this is the real me and not what I had become. My husband put it nicely “so I won’t have to live with that other girl…this is you again?” This is me.

I go back to the doctor in October to learn what to do. This may be my new norm with a kid and job. I have to be active all day and then come home and be active all evening for my baby. Remember this is my first year to do this so I am learning to do both, but I am also learning what it feels like when something is wrong and doing something about it.

The worst part is I did NOT lose weight dramatically which I liked until I got too skinny and looked like death when I was diagnosed. My belly is growing and it makes me mad because that is the only good thing about Lupus which is unexplained weight loss. If I am going to flare up at least give me that one symptom!

The good news is: I am able to type this post which I have not wanted or been able to do in a while.

Why God gave me a boy…

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I love fall and I am so excited to watch football games with my son. I am not enough of a girl to know how to raise one, so I am blessed to have a boy. I like girly things such as cute clothes, perfume, jewelry, US weekly, reality television etc. But I have always been more guy than girl. Always loved sports more than dancing. I don’t have a lot of close girl friends because I found it easier to get along with the boys. Dance lessons failed me even though I finally admitted this year that I will never be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader….I know it took a long time, but I always held out hope. Sororities were not my thing, because who can visit 100 girls in a week? I had things to do and making small talk with a bunch of girls that wanted you to suck up to them was not me…I think I made it to 55 and was proud, but they clearly did not vote for me. It went both ways…I was rejected by many girl groups and I cried, but it was my own lack of effort. If I did have a girl, the I would make her into a tomboy or she would change me into being more of a girl. Maybe I would put more effort into my nails and pedicures or learn how to bake or cook and clean to be a role model for her. I might try to sew something or at least try to host with some effort. I love a good sweat and when I am hit in the face with a soccer ball (has happened three times) then I got right back up. I often wonder why I am not a lesbian… I say all this to say that the things I naturally love fit more into the boy mold than girl mold and I am thankful for my son. I want a girl for my husband, but not quite sure I would know what to do with her.

The good news is: girls come in all shapes and sizes and I love the qualities that are in me. However, I do wish sometimes that I could do more things that I know I am suppose to do because it would make life easier for everybody!

The Power of Two

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Hard to believe that this was our big baby at 8 months! He is crawling everywhere, standing up on everything, babbling up a storm, gets upset when he does not get what he wants, puts everything in his mouth, laughs all the time and just loves! He is serious when he meets a stranger, but never cries or refuses to be passed around. He is on target and developing on level or in some cases early. With adoption, you have no idea how progress will flow. In fact, I was a little scared when he did not get his first tooth by 8 months, but then it popped up a few weeks later. We are so blessed that he is growing, healthy, happy and smart. We truly have the baby God knew we could handle and the baby that God created for us. We are so blessed and amazed at his work.

However, having such a great experience…sleeping through the night at 8 weeks, eating healthily, no sickness, no doctor visits except for check ups….makes wanting another a little more powerful. We always thought that we would have two if we would have conceived, but here we are starting out with number one at 33 and then thinking ahead to when could we envision number two?

The truth of the matter is I am not sure we can or will. Conceiving for me would be almost dangerous. My body is healthy as it is, but carrying a baby would be a challenge. Hormones set my immune system off and you kinda need a lot of hormones to carry a child. I am not on birth control as my body natural attacks sperm and I have numbers to prove that I am in premature ovarian failure, but a pregnancy would be very uncertain although I know God is bigger than my fears. I don’t feel comfortable preventing a pregnancy, but I am also unsure if I could handle a pregnancy….I know that does not make sense.

We say no to donor eggs and surrogacy is beyond us…so our only option left would be adoption. Maybe in a few years, the pain of the hard work to adopt will wear off, but not right now. I remember how hard it was! I remember the meetings, paperwork, traveling, waiting and worrying…not interested in doing that again. In addition, God provided every penny so that the entire thing is paid off, but we would have to start from scratch to do it all again. The truth is that God placed adoption on our hearts the first time, I am not sure that he has not replaced it for a reason.

We always thought of his birthparents ever had another one then we would consider, but that looks unlikely too. So, here we are never thinking that we would be one and done, but not able to comprehend the scenario of how would two come about. If two was meant to be then it will happen. We never thought adoption was in the cards for us the first time until God did a miracle, so it is out of our control. But if in five years from now we have two then I will be shocked to tell that story because right now I cannot imagine. You may ask, “Why now…wait a few years.” But the reality is I never though my first would be this late, so I can’t imagine a second much later. My parents had me at 23…I expected to be a younger mom than this. God’s plans are different and our son was born at the perfect time…it is all perfect…but not my plan if you know what I mean.

So here is the gripe of it all. I get jealous of those that just say “Let’s have another” Like planning a family is that easy. We want two, three, four, five and they just have sex and it is done. Some have it like that…conceive naturally, the delivery is relatively low cost and you do it again whenever you want. Not us. It’s all more difficult than that and we can’t just decide we’ll try for another. Those are not our cards.

I want what I can’t have which is the control of it all. I got something way better in my son, but my heart right now says that he might be it. God might give us the opportunity to raise an only child and I am unsure how I feel. I love my sibling, but I don’t have a choice. We are coming to grips with raising one. In our society, it is becoming more normal…social media has you surrounded by people all the time. His cousins are only children so they can band together and be like brother and sister. He is also around a lot of kids and Lord willing will be on a team where his team is like his family. I dream of him exceling in something where we could only do it because we have him to focus on. I know God planned this for a reason, but it always makes me wonder about the future and what God will do.

The good news is: if our son is our one and only then we are the most blessed parents in the world. Finding him is the greatest thing we have done. I was born to be his mom. I was created to parent him. If he is the only child I parent, that will be enough.

Hook ‘Em Horns!

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I have not posted since July and I am sure some think I just quit the blogging world altogether. Not quite. Firstly, I feel at a different place with the blog as if I no longer have a good story to tell. So much feels closed with the adoption of our son. I have never been one to be a mommy blogger or have a blog about the trials and tribulations of caring for kid. Those blogs are great to read, but I am not one to write them. For the longest time, my focus was Lupus then infertility then the adoption…and now I feel like just a normal person again without that exciting story to tell In truth, I am thankful for that, but feel a little boring as a writer so forgive me if I don’t write as much.

This summer, was a beautiful display of perfection. I was a stay at home mom and a well rested one! My days consisted of loving my son and trying not to spend too much money or over eat. Around August, I got the dreaded “Welcome back to School Letter” and it all began to go downhill from there. I love being a teacher, but it is exhausting. It is constant 24/7 thinking what I should be doing or still need to do for the classroom. It is not a job you can leave because all the time my head plans for what we are learning next and if I am prepared. Have I contacted that parent, or entered that grade or found that flipchart or made that copy? It is constant and if I am not working I feel guilty for allowing myself to just get by or I feel guilty for getting behind because I know it will lead to a late night at school until seven pm when I finally just let it go. The truth is the teacher’s job is never done until summer vacation. So you can see that knowing that I was going back was a bit draining.

I have never begun the school year as a mom. This was my first-first day of school with a baby at home. I was so proud to introduce myself as a mother, but very overwhelmed at how much I just wanted to let all this go and run home to him. I love teaching and staying at home is not an option, but I feel spread thin being a mother and classroom teacher. I have amazing family and husband that help out in phenomenal ways, but I want to be there for it all and it is hard. So, that was time leading up to starting the school year. So blessed to look back and think that August of last year, we were wrapping up a home study and praying for a phone call. We had no idea when, where who or how…but we knew that we did all we could do and were just waiting!

The good news is: It felt good to return to work with a reason for working. I love coming home and Fridays are my favorite day of the week. We always do a Friday dance and celebrate our special night together!