Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Pinterest Challenge

I have 11 boards on Pinterest.  One of them is just called "Inspiration."  It's for all those great pictures of old buildings or cool libraries or interesting faces I come across that might spark a story some day.  The problem is, I haven't seriously written anything since before Elijah was born.  Now, I'm either too tired or too busy to think about it most of the time.

So, I have set myself a challenge.  I'm going to take each one of those pictures either individually or group some of them together and write short stories for them.  Just to get my imagination working again.  Hopefully, I'll even find time to put them up here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One month old

Yay!  Happy one month, Elijah!

And so we begin the early-year-birthday onslaught.  Really, it started yesterday with our niece Sophie's second birthday.  We continue tomorrow when Craig, my father-in-law, celebrates his.  Looking ahead to next Thursday is my mother's birthday and a little further down the road we see Nathan's 31st on the 9th.  Just beyond that, we celebrate the first birthday of our Ides of March baby, our nephew Brian.

It's going to be a fun month!

Friday, February 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 3)

I haven't figured out how to live in more than one room with an infant.  We set his swing up in our sun room, so that is where Elijah and I live during the day.  I set my laptop up in there and we literally don't leave that room until Nathan comes home unless we are running errands or Elijah is sleeping and I'm doing some small chores.

The laptop sits on the coffee table and I have actually gotten really good at maneuvering around the Internet with my foot.  Not kidding.  I can't type or anything crazy like that, but the mouse is a touch pad and while I sit on the couch and hold Elijah, I can move the cursor around with my foot and click on things.  Usually it's just to change the Pandora station.

The season finale of Downton Abbey broke my heart.  Poor Bates!  I hope it all blows over early next season.

Elijah absolutely refuses to nap in the pack and play that we use for a bassinet.  He will nap just fine if I hold him for a while and then put him down in the swing.  But if I try to put him down in the pack and play, he will wake up within 5 to 10 minutes screaming.  He's too little yet for me to feel comfortable letting him cry it out.  At least he's napping somewhere.
This week I have discovered two blogs I really enjoy.  One is brand new.  It's called Dough Boy, and is run by my brilliant sister and brother-in-law.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.  Eric and Elizabeth are foodie extraordinaires, in that they make a lot of what they eat from scratch.  They make their own sandwich bread (without a bread maker), crackers, and pizza dough.  Eric has also tried his hand at curing  bacon, and making cheese (against Elizabeth's wishes).  He brews beer and she has made dog biscuits for their beloved French Bulldog, Buddah.  I'd just like to mention that I wouldn't mind being a guinea pig for a test batch of homemade marshmallows, or more bacon.

The other blog is called Catholic Cuisine.  It's filled with ideas for recipes and meals to make to celebrate or honor feast days and specific liturgical seasons.  There are some really neat ideas that I want to try when Elijah gets older.

We have quite a collection of Disney movies.   And lately, I have come into more respect for Hunchback of Notre Dame, previously one of my least favorites.  It's a very dark story and must have been hard to adapt.  I love that they let it  be a little darker than their other movies.  They didn't try to take away all its character.  Plus, the music is great.  Observe:

 At four weeks, Elijah is following objects with his head and focusing more clearly.  He can hold his head up for longer periods of time and is pushing with his legs.  His eyes are very slowly getting lighter and his hair is a very pretty gold-red color.  He eats 3-4 oz at a time and has started staying awake longer.  He is wonderful!

For more 7 Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You are Dust

A few months ago, I happened to think about Lent and I felt a happy rise in my heart.  I noted it, because Lent is usually my least favorite liturgical season.  Every year, I dread the coming of Ash Wednesday and the dark weeks ahead full of self-evaluation and meatless Fridays.  But this year felt different.  This year I was looking forward to the opportunity to work on my flaws and faults.  I didn't know yet what my Lenten resolutions were going to be, but I was eagerly anticipating them.

Then, life changed.  And to be honest, I haven't really spared much thought for Lent or resolutions since.  But at the eleventh hour last night, I resolved to try harder to say my Rosary daily.  I also resolved to more happily embrace my so-far-least favorite part of parenting, when Elijah wakes up at 8:30 ready to go for the day.  I know, that's not so early for most people, but it is a struggle for me to respond to my son joyfully.

I also thought about resolving to eat more healthily.  But that is such a nebulous proposition that it seems silly to make it.  So for now, let's say I'll work harder on portion control and trying to force a few vegetables in a week.

This morning, after I gave Elijah his morning bottle, I got dressed, loaded him into the car and we drove two towns over to where we go to church.  As we were driving, I thought to myself, here we are, in Lent again.  And it was back, that happy joyful feeling.  Welcome to Lent.

It's kind of worn off since 9 am, but Elijah got his first cross of ashes today.  And yeah, we leave them on all day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes


A rare calm moment during tummy time.  Elijah really hates tummy time.

The cats' reactions to the baby have actually been pretty interesting.  Hecate, our antisocial, anti-people cat, really doesn't seem to care at all.  She is very much just herself.  Hyperion,on the other hand, usually our outgoing gregarious cat, seems to be really put out.  Initially we thought it was just because he is no longer allowed in the bedroom, but he will not come anywhere near Elijah and if he does, it usually takes about two seconds before he goes running in the opposite direction.

We have been blessed these past two weeks with lots of visitors.  Friends of Nathan's came to see Elijah a couple days after our arrival, some of my coworkers stopped by this past Monday.  We've also hosted several mutual friends and of course, our parents and family.  It has been so nice to see people and get to share this happy time with friends and family.

I can't believe we've been home for two weeks!  And Elijah is 3 weeks old!

Baby boy has really started growing.  We only have a few newborn-sized outfits and I put him in one without feet yesterday only to find his chubby little ankles stuck out a little ways above his socks before the cuffs of the legs started.  The one I put him in today almost looks like it's bursting at its seams.

I'm going to have to find more constructive ways of spending my time at home.  While Elijah is sleeping, which he still does quite a bit, I have watched every episode of How I Met Your Mother and I've started on Sherlock, which by the way I love, on Netflix.  Apart from laundry, sweeping and thank you cards, there isn't a lot else to do.

Will try to make future posts not all about the baby, promise.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Mama

First of all....

Seriously, how cute is he?

We've been home for just over a week now and Elijah is just over two weeks old.  This world of motherhood is an interesting place.  It's a strange feeling to be making all the decisions for another person.  I remember even as we were driving to Birthmother's home state, I was thinking about his name and said to Nathan, "How does one person go about creating an identity for another person?"  What if he hates his name?  What if he would rather be called "Eli?"  I hate nicknames so I've refused to use it.  Nathan said something to the effect of, "Because you have to."

I realize that Elijah's identity is already inside his little person, but it will be up to us to help shape and make him into an individual.  There are all kinds of questions floating around in my head now.  What if we don't hold him enough?  What if he is allergic to cats?  Do we feed him too much?  What if we are playing the wrong kind of music?

Nathan is all about music, so I added a "Disney" channel to my Pandora stations.  But I don't know if Disney is "right" at this age.  So I added a "lullaby" station.

Even though it was one of the most inconvenient things I've ever had to do, I kind of miss living in that hotel in Birthmother's home state.  Life was a lot simpler there.  All we had to do was hold and play with Elijah and make sure all our paperwork was moving from place to place.  Here, we have to do things like dishes, laundry and bills.  I have to cook meals and clean up around the house.  I have a certain longing for the days of sitting around staring at the baby.  But I still do that quite a bit!

But things around here have settled into what almost might be called a routine.  Nathan took over middle-of-the-night baby duty for the weekend, so I got to sleep.  If there is a perk to formula feeding, that's it.  We have been enjoying receiving all kinds of family and friends who want to meet Elijah and ask us how we are doing.   

Being the Mama is definitely more than I expected it would ever be.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Elijah Nathan

I was asleep, to begin with.  It was mid-afternoon on Wednesday, January 18 and I still had about an hour to sleep.  But, the phone rang.  In my sleepy haze, I answered the phone and heard Nathan talking about our adoption agency calling him.  They said a birthmother in a neighboring state really liked our profile and wanted to talk to us.  He kept saying I needed to call the agency because she wanted to talk to us that night.  Finally, my mind started working and all I could say was, "Nathan, did she pick us?"  He responded with "Yeah, that's why they want you to call them."  I hung up right away and called our adoption agency.  Our adoption coordinator answered the phone and said "talk about things happening for a reason."  Then, she told me about a birthmother who had one or two conditions we initially hadn't said we would accept.

"I didn't mean to send her your profile," the coordinator said.  "But I must have accidentally put it in the pile of profiles I sent because she picked you guys and wants to talk to you tonight."  She went on to tell me a few things about the birthmother, and that she was having a boy in one week. Then the coordinator gave me Birthmother's name and phone number.  I was in shock.  We hadn't even heard of this situation before hand.  She just liked our profile enough to think we would be good parents to her little boy.  Suddenly those few conditions didn't seem so daunting and we were so excited.

Nathan came home that night and we called her.  We were all very nervous, but it was a wonderful conversation which lasted about an hour.  She told us she wanted us to be in the delivery room when the baby was born.  She explained why she picked us and we told her about our lives at home and how we plan to handle day care after I go back to work.  She said she expected to need to be induced.

The minute we hung up the phone, I pulled out our big black duffel bag and started packing it.  I made sure the diaper bag was still packed from the last time we got called.  We told our parents and siblings.  We told our bosses.  Things went on pretty much as they had before.  I spoke with the birthmother one other time as we waited.  But, really, things were different.  I bought a car seat.

I put together the swing we bought and the bouncy seat we received as a present from my brother and sister-in-law.

We had to get all our paperwork updated and retained lawyers in both our state and Birthmother's state.  Birthmother was due on Friday, January 27 and we were ready to head to her state when she was induced. 

Nathan responded to all this stress by not sleeping.  He wasn't going to bed until 3 am most nights.  Finally on Wednesday the 25th, his body said "no more" and he was in bed at 7 pm.  That was my Sunday, so I stayed up, sitting at my computer reading articles about newborn care and playing an on-line game with a friend from work.  (We all keep strange hours.)  At 4 am Thursday, January 26, Nathan's alarm went off.  He didn't move and I shut if off.

Fifteen minutes later the phone rang, it was Birthmother.  "Margaret, I'm in labor," she said.  "Okay, we'll be there as fast as we can," was all I could say.  I shook Nathan's shoulder and woke him.  "Birthmother is in labor, we have to leave now."  "What?" he responded.  I finished packing our big duffel bag, I double checked both of the baby's bags.  An hour later, after Nathan had checked the car over carefully and we installed the car seat for the first time, we left.  We drove for seven hours, had one near miss with a semi and arrived safely at the hospital.

We made it, Birthmother was still in labor.  Her parents were both in the room and a friend of hers arrived.   Everyone was wonderful and even the hospital staff referred to us as "the parents."  She started pushing about 2 hours after we got there.  I stood on her left side and helped brace her while she pushed.  Nathan sat in the corner.

Baby boy arrived at 4:46 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012.  He was 8.09 lbs and 20 1/2 in.  We named him Elijah Nathan.  He was perfect and pink and healthy.

When the doctor pulled him out and placed him on Birthmother's chest, she reached down and grabbed my hand, pulling it up to the baby's stomach.  I could feel tears running down my cheeks.  I glanced over and Nathan was standing up, smiling with a look of complete awe and happiness.  Then they took Elijah off and cleaned him up, wrapped him and handed him to me.  I couldn't help it, I started singing to him.  The first song that came to my mind, which, I think is called "The Spinning Wheel."  After that, I handed him to Nathan.

The hospital gave us an empty room to stay in so that Elijah could be with us and we could feed and change him.  We were there for two days before moving to a hotel.  The next day we traveled to a bigger city where the lawyer's office is and stayed in a hotel there.  It was another five days before we finally received clearance from our state and Birthmother's state and were told we could leave. 

It has been so nice to be home.  Elijah is such a good baby, he sleeps well and eats well.  He doesn't fuss unless he is wet or hungry or wants his pacifier.

We thank God for Birthmother and for everyone who has supported us and cheered for us all along the way.