Friday, May 31, 2013

Pause Button

LL 106. It is shocking how quickly Bailey is growing.  I knew that it would fly by but I wish we could just slow it down a little bit.  I love that she's growing but selfishly I want these early "baby" days to go by in slow motion. I want to press a pause button so I can soak these moments in just a little bit longer.  

In the last handful of days Bailey has said her first words (Mama, dada, baby, and Abby), is walking without needing any help and is hopping. She's climbing stairs, brushing her teeth and combing her hair, opening the garage door and setting our alarm.  My little girl's all grown up! :-(  

All selfishness aside, I am consistently amazed at how much Bailey is growing everyday. I've heard many people say that the first couple years are so significant because children don't change more in such a short period of time as they do in these early years. Truth.

Here's Bailey saying a couple words, sort of...

LL 107. While I am so proud of how much she's growing, it also has its, um, challenges.  She's learned how to use her legs, and she's freakishly strong.  Changing her has become an adventure and I haven't quite mastered keeping her on her bum. The second that diaper is off she's rolling over getting ready to make a run for it. 

LL 108. Bailey loves making this old man face. I love it.

This weekend I've got some serious daddy-daughter time...hopefully she'll make it through the weekend without too many scars. I thought about braving the pool with her, but I'm more concerned about how I'll get her into her bathing suit and sunscreen on her.  That could be disastrous. Surely this sweet-as-can-be 20-lb, 15-month old can't defeat me that easily. Can she?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Four Months

Four months ago. We met Bailey four months ago. She was such a tiny, reserved little girl, barely walking, unable to understand us. How quickly things can change.

Just four short months later Bailey is animated, walking, talking (her own language, but it's getting close!), signing, learning, all with more confidence each day. What follows is a little brag session about how much she's grown since we met her in her little Nike headband.
When we met Bailey she couldn't hold her own bottle.  Now, she's helping herself to some corn on the cob!

We've talked a lot about how much Bailey signs and we finally have some video evidence! She's taken some liberties in revising the signs a bit, but we know what she means!

She even likes to brush her teeth!

We've recently enjoyed a number of firsts with Bailey in addition to the corn on the cob...

First trip to the zoo and first carousel ride!

First ride in a wagon...with Abby!

And the first dinner date for me and Jenny since we brought Bailey home. Jenny surprised me with a nice dinner out and we left a sleeping Bailey at home with a good friend!

This isn't a first, but I just can't get enough of this face. :-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day - part 2

I (Jenny) have officially hijacked the blog to brag about my husband because I know he won't.  My first Mother's Day with Bailey home was made super special when I woke up to this:

Breakfast in bed!  Did you notice the "flowers" in the bowl?  Yup, Travis Cramer rocked some origami with dollars (and Euros!) for a day of pampering for me.  Massage, here I come!  My first question was, "Did you learn how to do that on Pinterest?"  He assured me that no, Pinterest will forever be my domain and I think I'm okay with that :)  I am so blessed to have him as my husband and as a father to Bailey.

I thought a lot that day about how Mother's Day is different for those of us that have our children through adoption.  I found this on a friend's Facebook that morning and I think it summed up my feelings well:  "Children born to another woman call me "Mom." The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me this weekend."  While Bailey's history is hers alone to share, it is safe to say that adoption always involves loss amidst the great joy. Is it weird that I forget that Bailey wasn't born to us?  I frequently forget that she had a birth mother (and maybe another family) a continent away, yet I thought about this woman a lot on Sunday.  I wonder if Bailey will grow up to look like her or have her personality or mannerisms.  I wonder what she will inherit from Travis and I, other than his sweet origami skills (who knew???).  I guess time will tell but I pray that however she turns out, she knows how fortunate I am to be called her mother, holiday or not.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

Sunday was a special day. Not only was it Mother's Day, we also had the opportunity to dedicate Bailey to the Lord. We're so grateful to have a church family that takes raising Godly children so seriously. Bailey made it through the dedication with just a few perfectly-timed squeals.

Mother's Day can be a difficult day for many - many that deserve to be honored and recognized for a number of reasons but yet are haunted by this day. Infertility, loss, estrangement, and other realities make this day unbearable for some. Our hearts were especially burdened for Brenda Gorman this Mother's Day. Brenda is grieving the loss of little Zia, whom the Lord called home last weekend. You can read (and please consider donating to their medical and funeral expenses) more about their story hereTheir story is a testimony of the unconditional, sacrificial love a parent has for his/her child, biological or adopted. The Gormans sacrificed much to care for Zia and be the family that everyone deserves, and they were so blessed by the short time they were able to be her mom and dad.  Please remember them in your prayers as they heal and that the Lord will use this for His glory. I can't speak for them but I've added this to the list of "things I'll ask God about when I get there". 

Today was Jenny's first Mother's Day with Bailey in our arms and is a day we'll always remember. I can't help but think back over the past year. A year ago, we were waiting for our dossier to be sent off but Bailey was already very much ours in our hearts and minds. We've now had her home with us for almost 4 months and I can't really remember life without her. 

Since the day we met Bailey, I have been so impressed by Jenny, specifically in her role as a parent...just add it to the list of ways she impresses me. :-)  I'm just so blown away by the way that she seizes every opportunity to love, teach, laugh, and/or create memories with Bailey. It really is amazing to watch her. She is a teacher through and through. 

A prime example is meal time. I see meal time as a task - feed Bailey and minimize the amount of food that ends up on the floor, in her hair, or anywhere else besides her mouth. Jenny sees it as a chance for Bailey to learn - how to communicate more, thank you, all done, to identify what she's eating and items around the kitchen, etc. I'm so blessed to have a wife and partner that invests so much of herself into being a mom. She is already serving as an amazing model of a woman for Bailey and as a parent for me.  Thank you, my love, for teaching me so much.

I haven't written much because I was in Europe for 10 days. While I was gone, I swear Bailey doubled in size. Or maybe just her hair did! She's doing so well walking on her own now and pretty soon she'll be running. She is so animated and expressive, and she's very adventurous. I love the confidence she seems to have!

I don't know what parents that had to travel did before video chat - what a wonderful tool we get to use to stay connected. Although it is nowhere close in value to actually being present, it makes the days away a little bit better, and gives me an opportunity to still be there, if only for just a few minutes. 

While in Europe I was able to swap parenting stories with a few colleagues - amazing how quickly the conversation turns to "parenting POOP stories" when you get a few dads together. It's always nice to know that so many others have similar stories to laugh and learn from.