Friday, July 25, 2014

I found my nickels!

Ah, toddler discovery...Bailey is SO curious these days. About food, people, animals, nature, BODY PARTS.  Oh, and she's not just curious, she's incredibly verbal (read: loud) about it.

Mama, I found my "nickels"!! They're so bumpy!!!!


And the parroting - not just of us, but of anyone within earshot of her.  It's not uncomfortable at all when she yells bits and pieces of conversations that complete strangers are having.  So thankful for a sense of humor.

I never could've imagined that Bailey would be as talkative as she is. Although there are moments of awkwardness, it is so much fun to see her be curious, express herself, and verbalize so much of what she sees and does. 


Over the 4th of July weekend, Bailey experienced a number of firsts:

First light rail ride & first Rockies game - shocker, they lost.


First hike up to the rock in Castle Rock and her first walking stick, because what 2 year old doesn't want a walking stick?






We've had Bailey home for almost a year and a half.  Good friends of ours left a week ago to go meet and bring their little boy home.  When I heard their news, I was quickly transported back to that afternoon in Dallas when I got the call from Jenny that it was go time.  I remember how the next 48+ hours were a total blur and before I knew it, we were in a van on the way to meet Bailey.  I remember holding her for the first time, finally having the child in my arms that I had been thinking of and praying for for months.  

And, I remember that "oh $*!t" moment when we walked into our hotel room with Bailey for our first night together. I was thrilled that I was finally able to care for my child, but also shellshocked that, just like that, I had a child to be responsible for, to love, to care for.  All of those months of waiting so quickly morphed into a new reality as a family of three.  I am so excited for our friends - will you please pray for their travel, their process, and their bonding time with their little one?  Such exciting, important days for this family.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Foodie

As Bailey has grown and her menu options have increased from various foods in liquid form to eating just about anything, she has become quite the culinary artist. Bored of her usual menu, she has created some pretty interesting food combinations.  And by interesting I mean GROSS.


Here are a few of my "favorites":
  • Yogurt and fish sticks - dipping fish sticks into fruit-flavored yogurt would be bad enough, but Bailey first tops the fish stick with some yogurt like icing on a cupcake, and then dips it in the yogurt.   

  • Raspberries (or just about any breakfast food) dipped in syrup - OK, I kinda like the sound of that.  
  • Toasted bagel topped with soy cream cheese and pieces of mushy, smashed banana
  • Graham crackers dipped in mustard
  • Salami, hummus, and nectarine "tacos" (that face below is a smile after trying this one)


Her creativity is also shining through by way of her dress up bin and its various options.  Some of these pictures aren't the best quality but these outfits are too good not to post!





Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Three months. THREE MONTHS. It's been quite the drought, and evidently people have actually missed my ramblings.

After a few not-so-subtle hints from my better half, I figured that I better get back at it. What better day than Father's Day?

This video says it all:


A note for my Bailey as I celebrate my 2nd Father's Day...

Bailey,
Today more than most, I remember the journey we've been on these last few years. Before we even knew your name, God was preparing me for the privilege of being your father. The little quote rings so true today that "love makes a family".  

Bailey, I love you so much and I'm so proud of you. You are a beautiful, brilliant, well-behaved little girl. I'm so proud of how much you've grown in the 18 months we've had you home. I love the little conversations we can have now. You express yourself so honestly and I pray you never stop doing that, especially with me and your mom. 

I love your sense of humor and the way you fill our house with laughter. 

I am so proud of the way you behave at home and out in public. Except for the infrequent outbursts (and fork throwing) at restaurants, you are so incredibly good and have such good manners. It makes us so happy the way you behave and follow instructions. 

More than anything, I love that little heart of yours. You may only be 2, but your acknowledgement of God makes my heart smile. Yesterday in the car, as the fire engine drove past us with its sirens going, you reminded me that we needed to pray for the firefighters and whoever might be involved in the emergency. And last night you wanted to talk about God before bed and you asked to pray for little Aimerance (our sponsored child in DRC). I love hearing you repeat our prayers, until it clearly becomes a delay tactic to avoid going to bed. :-)

I love you more than I will probably ever be able to accurately express. You are my sweet Bailey, and I would do anything for you and your mother.  It is a privilege to be your Dada, a responsibility I don't take lightly. I'm thankful to God for the added joy and purpose you've brought to my life.  

I love you,
Dada




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Halfway Home - Day 4

Oh the best laid plans...

I had planned on posting "regularly" while Jenny was gone.  After the first full 24 hours came and went, I realized that was a ridiculously overzealous and unlikely plan.

Since Thursday night my evenings (after putting Bailey down) have been a struggle to get off the couch and do anything productive.  

Some highlights and thoughts from the weekend so far:

  • The more interactive tasks can be for Bailey, the better chance they'll go well.  Diaper changes, getting dressed, bath time, brushing her teeth - if she can participate, she wants to. If I don't let her participate, things tend to get "interesting" quickly.
  • Chuck E. Cheese is a little scary. For so many reasons. I think the overstimulation got to me more than it did Bailey!
  • Bailey started randomly singing "Jesus Loves Me" on Friday morning.  I'm not going to kid myself into thinking she knows what all she's saying, but there's something absolutely beautiful about a 2-yr singing about Jesus.  
  • Bailey counted to 10. Correctly!  She had been skipping #6 and repeating 7, 8, and 9 a few times before coming to 10, so I see that as progress!
  • Jenny left me nice notes and treats around the house.  She's so good at doing these little things to show me how much she loves me and appreciates that we were able to make this work for her to get away.  I love her generous heart.
  • Not to be forgotten, Abby has pooped herself twice and she peed on the floor mat this morning. Thanks Abby, for reminding me that at times you're higher maintenance than a child.
  • In my quest to make sure Bailey is taken care of and looks presentable, my appearance on the other hand...
    • I shaved my head this morning. Well, I shaved most of my head, unknowingly missing a large unshaved patch of hair.  I was completely oblivious until a friend gently pointed it out at lunch...
    • I was on the way out the door to church this morning until I realized I was wearing jeans and just an undershirt.
    • At church I realized that I hadn't finished buttoning my shirt. 
On to the pictures...









Thursday, March 6, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Time - Day 1

Jenny left this afternoon for 6 nights away for the Created for Care adoptive moms retreat and some additional R&R. For the better part of the next 6 days, it's me and Bailey.  Let the games begin!

I'm excited for all of the daddy-daughter time Bailey and I will have. And I am really excited that Jenny gets some much deserved rest and relaxation, and a chance to connect with some new friends.  

If the first 8 hours are any indication, I expect to sleep really well each night.  Within minutes of saying goodbye to Jenny at the airport, Bailey was very unhappy to only see one airplane and one large scary blue horse with crazy eyes as we made our way home. 

After a few efforts to divert her attention she finally settled on playing with her feet for the next 30 minutes, only to fall asleep 10 minutes before we got home.  That was all the nap she was interested in today.  Her "nap" in the crib consisted of getting her arm stuck between the mattress and the crib frame (I think that was a first), smuggling some books into the crib for some reading and ripping, and pretty much doing anything to avoid falling asleep. 

I eventually gave in, got her up, and we enjoyed a nice short trip to Safeway to get some groceries and her usual treat.

COOKIE!!
Thirty-or-so minutes later, the cookie was just a distant memory. Back home from Safeway I decided to let Abby back in from outside. Evidently Bailey was looking forward to doing this, even though I've seen her open the back door one. Maybe. 

A photo couldn't capture the stomping and flailing, but that larger than life tear tells the story.


Although giving Abby her treat was hardly a consolation in Bailey's mind, she finally gave in.  Moments later, she's sprawled on the tile floor...snow angel time!!


Bailey then proceeded to "help" me with dinner, her interest and attention span lasting all of 30 seconds. I'm thinking our dinners are going to be nice and simple, and can't burn easily.  Keeping tabs on Bailey and food simultaneously is no small task.  

I'm excited for our adventures over the next six days.  It's going to be hard work but it will give me just a small taste of what Jenny has to handle 60-some-odd days per year.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bring on the 2's!



Bailey is 2!!

We are two weeks into the "terrible twos".  I'd be lying if I said there haven't been moments that make me fear what Bailey may have in store for us over the next 50 weeks, but many more that have me looking forward to them.  It continues to amaze me how fast time flies and how quickly she's growing from a baby into a little girl.

The good the bad, the ugly, open to your interpretation and in no particular order:

  • Last Saturday, we put Bailey down for a nap but she had other plans.  I looked at our video monitor to see what she was doing.  After a quick scan of the crib, something very important was missing from the picture...my daughter.  "Honey," I said, "Bailey's not in her crib."  Another milestone reached - Bailey figured out how to climb out of her crib.  She was sitting on the nightstand right next to the crib, as if it was no big deal.  Thinking that she had used said nightstand to climb out, Dad of the Year decided to move it and put her back in the crib.  Bad move - 10 minutes later, WAILS echoed throughout our house - surround sound from Bailey's room and the monitor.  No more nightstand to cushion the fall. So, yeah, that happened.
  • In the 2 weeks since turning 2, I swear Bailey's thrown more tantrums than all of 2013.  The fuse is all of a sudden much shorter and the discontent is displayed in much louder and more animated ways.
  • The yin to that tantrum yang is that her excitement and enjoyment are also filled with much more emotion and animation, as you can see here, when she realized she was about to go to a friend's house (and yes, that is an upside down crown on her head):
  • Bailey's continues to be more independent, wanting to do whatever she can on her own without any help and telling us often, "Bailey DO it!". 
  • Bailey is now treating her various dolls and stuffed animals (and saws, evidently) like they are her babies.  The diaper changes just quadrupled. See for yourself...

  • She is so proud of herself when she accomplishes something on her own, discovers something new, or learns a new word.  Today alone, she discovered that she can put her hands in her pockets, she learned how to say "Panera" and "edamame", and learned how to open and eat edamame. Things that you and I don't give a second thought to make her so happy!


OK, enough talking.  Onto the pictures...

Some fun from Super Bowl Sunday...well, before the game started...



Birthday fun (thanks Nikki for capturing these expressions!)...can you tell she liked the cake???










Fun in the snow!  Quite a contrast to this video from last February.








Sunday, January 19, 2014

Year One

This post didn't benefit from Jenny's editorial genius, so please forgive the grammar, auto-incorrect, and other errors.

My sweet Bailey,
A year ago your mama and I were sitting in a hotel room, jet lagged, mildly culture shocked, and waiting for a phone call telling us it was time to make our way to meet you. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a nervous wreck, somewhat in disbelief that this wait, which seemingly was going to last forever, was finally coming to an end.  Time to be the father to you that for close to a year I had so desperately wanted to be.

As we drove to your location, I felt the weight of the wait getting lighter.  Eleven months of watching you grow up through pictures, finally over.  

Watching you emerge from the house, Nike headband and all 15 pounds of you, is a memory stitched on my mind and my heart forever. 


I remember those first few minutes so vividly - holding you for the first time, holding your hands and helping you walk, watching you with mama.  



Bailey, you have added so much joy to my life since first laying eyes on you.  Your personality is so much fun. I love how much you love to talk, love to laugh, love to help and do some of the things you see mama and dada doing.  (Luckily that hasn't come back to haunt me. Yet.)






I love watching you absorb and process new information. You are a sponge and you love reading and learning.  I love watching you count (up to 6!!) and begin learning the alphabet (up to G!!). I love watching you wave to people that sit near us in restaurants, or you pass by in a store.  While I don't want you talking to strangers without me or mama with you, I hope you never stop being friendly.  You never know who might need to see your smile.  I know I look forward to it each and every day.



As your dada, this first year has been one I'll never forget.  We've been able to spend a lot of time together.  Your mama and I were intentional about reserving a lot of time for the three of us to get to know each other and become a family.  I hope and pray that you sense the unconditional love we have for you. 


You have given me so many moments that bring huge smiles to my face – The way you yell “DADA!” when you see me come up from the basement for breakfast, how you yell down to me when you and Mama get home, your big hugs, our goodnight kiss routine.  You kill me when you ask me to play when I’m still working. 

Your little voice and the way you say so many phrases makes my heart smile.  You get so excited about many things, big or small.  I hope that never changes. 

I am so proud of you, Bailey. 

I am proud of how much you’ve grown. I’m proud of how active you are. I’m proud of how much you’ve learned.  I’m proud of you and your growing vocabulary, your good manners, and how well you listen, usually. :-)





Selfishly, I’m so proud of your sleeping habits. Please don’t ever change those. Ever.  Your mama and I love getting a good night’s sleep.  THANK YOU.

Thank you for giving me a glimpse of the pain God went through as He watched His Son suffer on the cross.  Not in anyway comparing it, but watching you in the hospital and ER rooms struggling through the various health challenges you’ve face has been one of the hardest things for me. It is the closest I want to get to understanding that pain. Helpless and unable to make you all better are some of the worst feelings I've had to process. There's nothing fun nor easy about watching you suffer. I’m praying that 2014 is an easier year on your little body. My health, and our health insurance, need it. :-)



Without knowing it, you’ve helped me improve my prayer life. 

I pray for you every day, praying for God’s goodness and blessing on the girl you are becoming.

Praying for health, praying that God will give you a big, purposeful calling on your life. 

Praying that you will know God and have a relationship with Him.

Praying that He will use you to make the world a better place.

I love you, my precious daughter.  I hope and pray that you see, feel, and know just how deep my love is for you.

Happy “No More Waiting” Day.


Dada