Little Bug’s 1st Birthday Party

00015 - DSCN3738 Dave’s sister, Wendi, made the Lady Bug cake and flower cupcakes. It was adorable!

00028 - DSCN3751 Little Bug in her Lady Bug swimsuit ready to jump in the pool!

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Her Uncle Wesley joined her! It wasn’t long and Little Bug’s friends were in too. And, yes, Uncle Wesley stayed in the pool with Little Bug and her friends! He’s a cool uncle like that.

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We ate hamburgers and hotdogs that Dave cooked on the grill.

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Time to open presents!

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Little Bug knew what to do!

00114 - DSCN3837 And then, it was time for the cake! We sang Happy Birthday and then the cake was placed on Little Bug’s tray.

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She looked at it and then I took her finger and stuck it into the icing so she would know it was for eating!

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Didn’t take long and both hands were in the cake!

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Little Bug didn’t eat much of the cake at all. Instead she got her hands dirty and …

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… rubbed icing all over her belly! But then …

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… she started going for the cake open-mouthed! She still didn’t eat the cake much. She just continued playing in the icing!

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Uncle Wesley and Mama took Little Bug to the hose to get cleaned up. Later, Dave told me that when he saw Little Bug was almost done with cake, he left and went inside to start her bath water. He was going to take her in there for a quick bath and then bring her back to the party, but when he returned to get Little Bug he saw we had already hosed her off. What a sweet Daddy!

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Little Bug went back to the pools for more swimming with her friends. 

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Dave’s shirt says “Real Men Change Diapers”!

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My mom bought this cute Lady Bug outfit for Little Bug to wear after swimming!

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We can hardly believe we are parents to a one year old!

It’s sad that Little Bug is no longer a baby, but at the same time, it is so fun to see Little Bug turning into a little girl. I know as the days turn to months and the months to years we will continue to have so much fun with our little girl.

A Birthday Party and the Zoo

On Little Bug’s actual birthday my mom had a family birthday party for her.

The theme was Pooh Bear!

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The Birthday Girl wearing her party hat!

00022 - DSCN3601Little Bug got excited when we started singing Happy Birthday to her!

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My parents gave Little Bug a Pooh car.

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Dave’s parents gave Little Bug an Elmo.

00104 - DSCN3470Earlier that day, we took Little Bug to the Zoo!

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She got to feed a giraffe!

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She also rode the carousel with Uncle Wesley and Grandma!

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It was Grandma & Grandpa’s idea to take Little Bug to the Zoo for her birthday.

Little Bug thinks that was the best birthday ever!

 

The partying hasn’t stopped yet …

TODAY is Little Bug’s “Lady Bug Party” with family and friends!

So many changes…all at one time

Whew! Who knew that when baby hits 1 year old life suddenly drastically changes all over again?

I guess I should have known because the past year has been nothing but change every few weeks/months. The first year of a baby’s life eating and sleeping patterns are constantly changing.

But I’ve notice a HUGE change at 1 year old:

Eating:

Little Bug is now eating about 80% table food and 20% pureed baby food! If you follow my blog you know this is a huge accomplishment for Little Bug.

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Two therapy sessions and Little Bug became an eating champ. We first started giving her chunks of banana and she learned to “chew, chew, chew”. (I probably say that a million times every time she eats.) From there we started giving her little bites of anything … peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, any kind of fruit, cheerios, green beans, pasta, cottage cheese, yogurt. She loves it all. She makes a funny face when introduced to a new texture but once she has a bite or two of it, she’s fine.

I do still give her some pureed veggies just to make sure she is getting enough servings of veggies. I am going to stock up on frozen veggies soon because Little Bug is starting to turn her nose to pureed food. (I thought I’d NEVER see the day!)

The only food she still gags on is meats. Hopefully, one day we’ll get over that hump too.

Bottle:

Little Bug had her 12 month check up yesterday.

She is 19lbs. 7 ounces and 29 1/4 inches long!

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The pedi told me it is time to wean her from the bottle. I am serious when I say my eyes welled up with tears. I love holding and cuddling my baby girl four times a day when she drinks her bottles.

The pedi recommended dropping the bottles cold turkey. She said in her 15 years of practice she has seen this method work extremely effectively right around baby’s first birthday.

So, in the next few days I am planning on weaning Little Bug from the bottle. It’s another situation in which I have to do what is best for my child and realize my baby is growing up and I can’t feed her bottles until she is 10, so I might as well wean her when it is easiest. 🙂 Plus, there are other times when we can cuddle and share that special time together!

A friend suggested getting a Nuby sippy to help her transition. I am planning to use that. We will see how that goes.

I think I am going to shoot for Monday or Tuesday of next week to be “no more bottles day”.

Switching from formula to whole milk:

It is also time to wean off formula. My pedi told me that between 12-24 months children need the fat from whole milk. She recommends organic whole milk. She said children can get the diary servings they need from other sources as well (such as yogurt and cheese).

Starting today, Little Bug got 1 ounce of organic whole milk and 5 ounces of formula. I will gradually increase the ounces of milk and decrease the ounces of formula.

I want to switch to the sippy before she is getting 100% whole milk. Something tells me maybe having formula in the sippy will help her mind in transitioning from bottle to sippy.

Sleep:

Since Little Bug’s birthday her naps have been totally out of whack. I let her skip her morning nap on her actual birthday because we took her to the zoo. I was hoping she would cat nap on the zoo train, but, of course, there was too much to see and she wouldn’t fall asleep. She finally did fall asleep in the car on the way to eat lunch after leaving the zoo.

Then the next day I had scheduled her 1 year professional photo shoot and she again missed her morning nap.

So I thought being out of her normal napping routine had gotten her all out of whack. I knew just being consistent for a couple of days would get her back on track.

Well, one night she did something weird and totally uncharacteristic for her at bedtime. She cried when I laid her down, quieted down for about 30 minutes and then was crying again.

We gave her Motrin thinking her teeth were bothering her. Within 10 minutes she was out.

The next day she continued with the weird napping. Crying when laid down, taking 15-30 minutes to go to sleep and then waking up after only 40-45 minutes of sleeping. So I assumed it was her teeth again and gave her Motrin (off-brand kind!).

Naps were normal for one day with Motrin given 30 minutes before each nap and before bedtime.

Then, yesterday and today, it’s been back to crying when laid down, taking a while to go to sleep and napping for only 45 minutes (and I’ve still been giving her Motrin). Hmmm…….

So, I’m having to do some major nap troubleshooting.

I’ve continued to give her Motrin before naps, so she can’t be in pain. (She does have her 12 month molars coming in. I can feel/see them.)

I am beginning to wonder if this short napping is due to a wake time issue.

Maybe she is ready to stay up longer before the morning nap and stay up longer between the morning and afternoon nap?

So, tomorrow I will try that.

I’ll lay her down at 10:30 (instead of 10) and at 2:30 or 3 (instead of 2).

Sometimes it all boils down to a good ‘ol game of trial and error.

If extending wake time doesn’t do the trick, I will assume she has hit another wonder week. Apparently babies have one around 53 weeks. Sleep patterns can be disrupted during a wonder week and once the wonder week is over, things (thankfully) return to normal.

Acting like a big girl:

Seriously, it was like on May 27th Little Bug turned into a big girl. It is simply amazing at what she comprehends when we are talking to her. She is a little wobbly still but the weekend before her birthday, Little Bug decided walking is her preferred method of transportation.

My baby is officially no longer a baby, but in some ways, she will always remain my baby girl.

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May 29th

When planning Little Bug’s birthday party I would not plan her party for today, May 29th, because I do not like the date May 29th.

I know that may seem strange, so let me explain.

We had a waiting period of 81 hours from the time of Little Bug’s birth to getting the call from our lawyer saying Tracy had signed the consent and Little Bug was officially ours.

I know for some states, there can be a waiting period of 30 days for the birth mother to change her mind. To me, that is torture, for both adoptive parents and birth parents. In our state, Tracy could sign the consent after 48 hours of Little Bug’s birth.

Originally,we were set to do the signing at 9am on Friday, May 29th, just over 48 hours after Little Bug’s birth.

I will forever remember the drop in my heart as we pulled into the parking garage around 7pm on the night of May 28th for a visit with Tracy and Little Bug at the hospital.

My cell phone rang as we were getting out of the car. It was the lawyer and she told me words that ripped my heart right out of my chest.

She told me that Tracy didn’t want to sign the next day. My mind was literally swirling as I tried to comprehend whether she didn’t want to sign, period, or if this was just a delay.

I could barely keep myself together as I made my way up to the hospital room. I sat holding Little Bug completely torn whether I should allow myself to love her or if I would walk out of that hospital room and never see her sweet little face again.

It was agony.

In the back of my mind there was always the knowledge that I was holding a baby that was not yet officially mine.

As soon as the visit ended, I was back on the phone with the lawyers who tried, to the best of their knowledge, to fill me in on what was going on.

I can’t go into details (sorry), but I can say that I knew I was completely out of control of the situation and there was nothing I could do to sway the outcome of this situation – except wait.

And so began the LONGEST twenty-four hours of my life.

On the way home from the hospital on the night of the 28th, Dave and I stopped at the gas station just down the street from our subdivision. I was sitting there in the passenger seat staring off into space when my sister-in-law’s roommate (who happens to also be my friend) pulled up in her car beside me. She got out of her car and walked over to me.

“Congratulations!", she said. When she asked how I was doing I started to cry as I shared with her what was really going on. The compassion in her eyes was the genuine concern of a sister in Christ. I poured my heart out to her and together we got the idea to have a prayer meeting at my house that night.

I called some close family and friends who came over to our house that night to pray with us. There was a somber, yet hopeful mood in my home that evening.

Everyone took turns just pouring their hearts out to God on our behalf and pleaded with Him to please allow this precious baby girl to be our daughter. And yet, even though it was so hard to pray, everyone prayed God’s will be done – even if it meant Little Bug was not to be ours.

I cannot tell you just how uplifting it was to have family and friends surrounding me that night. Driving home from the hospital I didn’t know how I was going to survive those hours of waiting.

I needed the presence of my family and friends and they were there surrounding me in the darkest hour.

That prayer time lasted about 2 hours. I’d never been a part of something so amazing and haven’t since.

I didn’t know how I was going to get a wink of sleep that night, but I slept and I slept well. My hope was in the Lord and it was His strength that was holding me up as I waited.

I awoke very early on the morning of May 30th. I went into Little Bug’s nursery and continued the conversation with God that had been started the evening before.

Our parents came over to our house to wait with us that day. I didn’t want to be sitting in our house alone. I wanted people around.

We were in contact with the lawyers who told us we were to meet with the birth mom that afternoon to discuss some things.

This was my breaking point. I remember sitting in a chair in my living room completely feeling lifeless. I had not an ounce of strength in my body. I seriously did not know how I was going to get up and go fight the battle that I had to fight.

God’s presence was all over during those torturous hours of waiting. Suddenly a strength came over me like nothing I had ever experienced in my life.

I stood up.

I walked to my bathroom and began brushing my teeth, getting dressed and getting ready to go to battle for my child.

I felt an inner strength within me that I knew was God and God alone.

I wasn’t going to this meeting alone. God was going with me and He already knew the outcome and nothing I said, or didn’t say, would change that outcome.

I remember telling Dave, “Let’s go. I’m ready.” and avoiding my mother like the plague because I knew if I allowed myself to get a hug from her or allow her to say anything to me I would crumble right there and not have the strength to go on.

We pulled out of the driveway. Mama waved.

Later she told me she went into Little Bug’s nursery armed with her Bible and prayed and read Scripture until we came home.

Turns out Tracy decided the meeting with us was unnecessary. We met with the lawyers and a councelor who had talked to Tracy that morning.

We learned what was causing the delay. (I will just say it wasn’t Tracy second guessing her adoption plan. It was something totally unrelated to Little Bug and the adoption plan she had made for her.)

The signing of the consent was set for later that afternoon.

We went home for more agonizing waiting. Every minute seemed like an hour and every hour seemed an eternity. Time stood still.

Our parents were still at our house. We played games and ate dinner, all in the hopes that those activities would be great distracters from thinking about what was happening.

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I had felt a sense of calm but as 5:30 approached and we had not heard anything from the lawyers, I felt the anxiety creeping into the corners of my heart.

The waiting was literally about to make me go crazy. I didn’t know how much more I could take. I was getting to the point that I just wanted to know – I wanted to know if Little Bug was going to be our daughter or not. Just tell me!

I went and laid on my bed. I just laid there. I didn’t have any more words to pray.

In God’s great mercy, I had been laying there for probably 10 minutes or less when my cell phone rang.

I sprung off the bed and began running like a manic through the house to my cell phone. I urgently answered when I saw it was our lawyer.

She said, “She’s YOURS! Congratulations!”

I know I probably hurt her ear because I was still holding the phone when I screamed for the entire household (and probably a few neighbors) to hear, “SHE’S OURS!!!!!!”

It was a glorious moment. Tears streamed down my face and a prayer of thanksgiving filled my heart completely.

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It was over.

The years of waiting.

The pain and disappointment of the recent past was no more.

God had walked me through the fire and blessed me beyond measure. This was truly happening.

I was a mother to a precious baby girl.

Those moments after the phone call from the lawyer were surreal.

It wasn’t 10 minutes later and Dave and I were rushing to the hospital to see our baby girl.

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Yes, God is a God who turns mourning into dancing and weeping into laughter.

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Replay of Memories

I can’t help but replay the memories in my mind from a year ago as I now live the days of May 27th through May 30th in the year 2010.

I was changing Little Bug’s diaper tonight when my mind suddenly flashed back to the first time I ever changed her diaper.

It was on the night of her birth. I was in Tracy’s hospital room holding Little Bug when she needed a diaper change.

It was a dirty diaper and it was decided that I would change it.

I cannot tell you how many diapers I had changed before that night. Probably in the thousands. Literally.

But as I lay Little Bug on the bed, unswaddled her and began the diaper change I was a Nervous Nelly because Tracy was watching. I feared that if poop got smeared everywhere or some other catastrophe occurred during the diaper change she wouldn’t think I was a fit mom. Yes, I was probably thinking a little irrationally at the time, but I had been awake for about 36 hours, so I guess my thinking wasn’t too crazy.

I got through the diaper change and got Little Bug swaddled back up in her blanket (and no, it wasn’t the Miracle Blanket).

Tonight as I changed my wiggly one year old’s diaper those memories flooded me and I laughed to myself.

Just now as I was putting Little Bug to bed another memory came to my mind.

Little Bug was born at 7:11am and we spent the entire day with Tracy at the hospital. Tracy and I had made plans that I would stay with her in the hospital room. I was both excited about that possibility and nervous as well. I was so grateful that Tracy wanted me there to experience “the hospital” with her. I was also nervous because even though Tracy and I got along beautifully, I knew it would be stressful on me to spend lengthy amounts of time with her.

Dave left to go home when hospital visiting hours were over. Then it was just Tracy, Little Bug and me in the hospital room. As I mentioned, I had been up since 10am on the day before Little Bug’s birth. I know it was adrenaline I was running on. By the time Dave left I felt like a train had hit me. I wanted sleep. I needed sleep.

At the time I didn’t know this, but Tracy was second-guessing her invitation to me to spend the night there in the hospital with Little Bug and her. I don’t really share personal things about Tracy on the blog for obvious reasons, but I feel lead to share this with you because it shows the heart of a kind woman.

I had told Tracy to please let me know if she wanted me to leave so she could have some “down time”. She assured me she would and I trusted she would because her personality is one that tells you what she is thinking no matter what!

Well, Tracy left the hospital room with her cell phone and apparently went to call the lawyer to ask the lawyer to call me on my cell phone and tell me that Tracy really wanted me to go home. Tracy didn’t have the heart to tell me to my face because we had planned and planned for me to be with them in the hospital. I know she felt like she was taking something precious away from me.

Of course, on the phone with the lawyer, I started crying fearing the worst: That she had changed her mind about placing Little Bug with us. That is always on the back of the mind of someone going through an adoption. The lawyer assured me Tracy was just exhausted and needed some alone time.

So, I picked up my overnight bag and walked over to the precious baby girl laying in the hospital bassinet at the foot of the hospital bed. My mind was still swarmed with thoughts that Tracy was backing out and the adoption was going to fall through. (Irrational thoughts once again getting the best of me because of the precarious situation I was in and the fact that I was majorly sleep deprived.)

Country music played on the TV quietly in the background. I leaned over Little Bug and quietly whispered in her ear before leaving, “Bye. Bye. Mommy loves you.” Saying those words were SO hard. I felt like her Mommy already. I had witnessed her birth. I had spent the day loving her and caring for her. I loved her. But I didn’t know if I really would be her Mommy and it was terrifying leaving that hospital room.

I had this fear that if Tracy spent too much time with Little Bug alone, she would back out of the adoption plan. I thought maybe my presence would be a constant reminder of her adoption plan for this child. Now, looking back, I know that Tracy needed that time too. She needed to say good-bye and she needed her privacy to be able to fully rest. After all, she had just given birth!!

I walked out of the hospital room and just wandered the hospital like a lost puppy dog, not really knowing where I was going. I knew I needed to call someone to come pick me up. I wanted my bed! I decided to call my parents because Dave had been up all night with me the night before and he was already at home asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up to come get me.

The next morning I had a text from Tracy apologizing about last night. She just told me that she needed some time. By then, I was able to understand that this was really the best option after all for both of us.

Tonight as I gave Little Bug her bottle, rocked her and put her to bed, I said again, “Mommy loves you.” and this time there is no doubt who Little Bug’s Mommy is.

ME!

I wish there were words that could adequately describe to you the feelings in my heart as I go to bed tonight, but I will leave you with this:

God is good. In ALL THINGS He is good.

The day before the day my life changed forever

… was just like any other day before Little Bug came into my life.

We were anxiously awaiting “the call” from Tracy saying she was in labor and headed to the hospital.

That morning I slept in. I had absolutely no idea how sleep for me was about to change!

And I am not talking about the typical interrupted newborn sleep. The kind where you sleep in 2-4 hour increments and, if you happen to get a 5 hour stretch, you feel like you are in heaven.

I am talking about the way I sleep now. Little Bug is a good sleeper. It is not that I am up at all hours of the night trying to get her to go to sleep. She sleeps and sleeps well.

But I constantly have one ear tuned to listening out for her.

I guess it is just a mother thing because Dave certainly doesn’t have this problem. One night recently Little Bug did wake in the wee hours of the morning and it was because of teething. I was up about 1.5 hours before she went back to sleep. I asked Dave if he heard us up in the middle of the night and he said, “No.”

My ears are constantly in tune with her cry because I am her mother.

There is nothing in my life now that I do or don’t do without first considering Little Bug and how it will affect her.

Errands are run around her eating and nap schedule. We are sure to be home in time for her to get to bed at 8pm. I clean my house in a way that enables me to have my focus on her when she is awake instead of focusing on the house.

We believe a home does not revolve around the children in it, however, we also believe that Little Bug’s eating and sleeping needs must be respected. So, we are always mindful of eating and napping times. It is a season of life. One day Little Bug won’t need to eat at the same time every day and she won’t need to nap twice a day and our schedule will become more flexible.

The day before Little Bug was born, I slept in and then cleaned my entire house real good! Perfect timing or mother’s intuition, knowing the time of her birth was drawing near?

I find it interesting how God gave me motherly instincts for Little Bug before she even left Tracy’s womb and was technically my little girl.

That evening we went over to my parents’ house for dinner.

As we were pulling into our driveway at around 10:30pm my cell phone rang.

Immediately, my heart began racing as I scrambled to find the phone in my purse.

I knew the time had come.

It was Tracy and she said her water had broken and she was headed to the hospital.

Dave & I went inside, took our showers and then headed to the hospital around midnight. Those hours were surreal. I was elated and nervous all at the same exact time.

Seven hours later, our lives forever changed with the birth of our Little Bug.

I had no idea at the time just how much life really would change.

Of course, everyone and their sister had told me life would change, but you just don’t really understand that I suppose until life really does change!

Now, as a year has passed, I can barely remember life before Little Bug was such a HUGE part of it.

She is such a tremendous blessing and I thank God he gave us Little Bug a year ago tomorrow.

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Dave and I often lay in bed at the end of day and laugh at the cute things Little Bug did that day. We become overwhelmed with our love for her and it is hard to imagine that there was a time that we did not know Little Bug.

God in His great mercy has blessed our marriage with the most precious daughter. She is not half me and half Dave, but we realize now more than ever that it so doesn’t matter.

It just so doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I am her Mama, Dave is her Da-da and Little Bug is our beautiful little girl.