Thursday, May 28, 2009

Isn't She Lovely?

Today we went berry picking for an outing with Cindy, Manda, Wendy, and their kids. I took this picture of Leah looking visionary and it is now a favorite picture. And proof positive that she can open her eyes if she feels like it!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Leah's had a big week this past week. She is now a lot happier to play on the floor on her playmat. In fact, whenever she gets fussy during the day, I tend to try putting her on the floor first, and that's usually what she wants. It's kind of sad that she doesn't want to be cuddled quite so much, but exciting too that she's growing and stretching and ready to explore the world a little bit more. She's so cute kicking her feet out while she plays and in her stroller she swings her arms all over the place like she's conducting her own personal symphony.

She's also started babbling, cooing, and even giggling on occasion. She used to have two modes: scream and quiet. Now she makes happy little noises, smiles when she sees us, and is turning into a little chatterbox when she's playing.

We've also discovered that she's very ticklish on her feet, chin, and her sides. It's a sure way to get a smile out of her with a little tickle.

She is sleeping wonderfully--as long as her schedule isn't disrupted too much during the day, she will sleep 5 or 6 hours at a stretch and go back to sleep for another couple of hours after getting her belly filled up.

Being a mom has been wonderfully gratifying--much better than I ever dreamed it would be, and I thought it'd be pretty darned amazing. And it's nice that everyone else seems to agree that we've gotten a total prize :-) She's such a charmer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Phase 3 Begins!

We heard from our social worker, Beth, today. She has received the court order that will allow her to go ahead and schedule her mandated visits with us to make sure that Leah's progressing and we're doing everything we can to be good parents for her! This is really exciting--it means that all our paperwork was submitted and now we can do these visits and march on towards the finalization of the adoption this fall or winter.

Our first meeting with Beth is next week in Richmond. We haven't seen her really since last summer, so it'll be great to see her again and to introduce her to Leah!

You will recall that we will have 3 visits total. It's exciting to have this phase under way and hopefully have it all go smoothly so we can finalize the adoption!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Got Milk?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Those Lips!

They absolutely slay me! She is totally done in from a long night keeping us up!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

What a Difference A Month Makes...

Dear Leah,

One month ago, you burst into the world literally kicking and screaming. Our lives have never been the same since. This time a year ago, we found ourselves in the depths of despair, and now we spend our days discussing if either of us ever thought it was possible to be this happy, to love another person this much.

You are growing so fast! No longer a little 7 pounder with scrawny legs, you now break 9 pounds and have gained three-quarters of an inch. You have three chins and your cheeks are threatening to overtake the rest of your face. And as Daddy likes to point out, you are getting a belly! Your hair is most certainly your crowning glory, everyone comments on it still, and it's so soft and fluffy that no one can help running their fingers through it, us included. Your lips are so kissable, and you make the most hilarious faces--impudent, happy, sassy, angry, and let's not forget the so-called "Dum-Dum Face", which your mother takes great delight in (we need to get that one on camera yet!). Your legs are fine and strong, your feet perfect with ten wonderful little toes that get cold at the slightest hint of a breeze. You have razor sharp fingernails that no amount of cutting can tame and what a grip your little fingers have on everything! And let's not forget those lungs--you've got some real firepower behind you when you get vexed! The neighbors claim not to hear you, but we suspect they're just being nice!

Your personality is really something to see! Grown men leave their jobs to come and gaze at you, mechanics, chefs, waiters, they all want a peek and they all say the same thing: "Seeing her makes me want to have another one." Old ladies caress your hair and marvel at your perfect hands, telling Mama about their grandchildren with tears in their eyes. And you're such a good baby, no matter who holds you, you don't kick up a fuss, unless of course it's time for a meal.

Feeding you is such a kick! The happy little sounds you make only when you are eating are something we'll never forget. We love how you get so excited when you're eating that you shake your head back and forth, mouth opening ever wider as if you're trying to suck the entire bottle down your throat. Your post-prandial belches have a true air of satisfaction and make us feel as if the Queen herself could have dined on that bottle with true pleasure.

You are the most special little girl in the world. Being your parents for only a month has already been the biggest privilege of our lives. It was fate that we found each other, but it was destiny that we found you.

All our love,
Mama and Daddy

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thank You Book & Open House

Today I started sending out cards to people for the thank you book for Tasha. If you would like to get in on that action, kindly send me an email with your home address and I will send you a card for the book. I am even enclosing return postage so you don't have to hunt for a stamp!

If you are coming to the open house on May 30th, we will have all the supplies there for making a card and including it in the album. If you want the card early to decorate at home with your own supplies and are local, I can make arrangements to get the card to you in advance.

Also, to anyone who didn't get the Evite, our open house is officially scheduled for May 30th from 1-4pm. If you'd like to be added to the Evite to get the address, kindly send me your email address. We respectfully ask that no one arrive early or leave late. Leah runs a tight ship! Also, no gifts required, your presence is present enough.

Dad Funnies

Sunday, I left Michael and Leah together to run some errands. I needed to clean out my state car to prepare it for departure from my life, and then wanted to go to Walmart to get some pictures printed and then do the grocery shopping. I thought it would be some good Daddy-Daughter bonding time.

When she was here, my mom suggested that our house is too quiet and we should play music more often to keep Leah's mind stimulated. I mentioned this to Michael as I was leaving, since he enjoys spending time in his office and we have lots of MP3's on the computer. So he decided to play her some tunes.

Well, the state car thing took a while and then I took a while in Walmart, so I was gone 2 hours before I even did the grocery shopping. As I was pulling out of Walmart, I gave Michael a call to check in.

Me: How's it going over there?
Him (raspily): Are you coming home? It's been over 2 hours!
Me: Do you need me to come home?
Him ("): I've been singing to her for 2 1/2 hours!

Awww, he couldn't even talk. SO CUTE!


Yesterday Michael came home from work. Leah and I were upstairs. He found her, gave me a hug, patted Leah on the head and said, "What a specimen!"


Love him!

Can't Believe It, But...

...guess who decided to sleep through the night last night!? Yup! I don't know if it was the shot, the excitement of LOST, or all the screaming she did all day, but she must have really worn herself out, because she went to sleep at 11:00 and didn't wake up till 6:30. You can bet we had to step lively to change her and feed her the instant she was awake, and I was in a blind panic when I woke up at 6:00 and realized that she hadn't made a peep. I went into her room to make sure everything was A-OK, and she was sleeping like the little angel she is.

She's dozing now, so I'm going to take a shower. Lord only knows what wonders this day has in store!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today's Update!

Today Leah had her first doctor's appointment with our chosen health professional for her. It was a hard choice--we had a lot of great recommendations. Pediatricians are one thing that people are totally passionate about! Ultimately, though, we decided to stick with our family practice in Fairfax. It took me years to find a doctor I actually like and feel comfortable seeing, and as a bonus, I like all of Dr. Leonard's associates, so I called up there. I was told Dr. Leonard isn't taking on any more patients but was offered a choice of two of his associates. We settled on Dr. Kathleen Crane, whose specialty is listed as pediatrics. I saw her a year or two ago for a sinus infection and thought she was great, a little less militant than the other associate we were offered, so she was it! You can find them at if you need a doctor, I can't recommend them highly enough.

Leah, as you all know by now, HATES riding in the car. She screams whenever the car stops. The minute we are moving, she settles down, but if the car stops for any reason--getting gas, a red light, a stop sign, I am waiting patiently for a squirrel to cross the street--she freaks. And you know Virginia, we've got nothing if it's not traffic lights, and my luck is to always hit them red! UGH! So anyway, we did fine till we hit Fairfax and then she was unhappy while we went through the lights. The weird thing is, the minute I take her car seat out of the car, she settles right down. And thus it was when we arrived. I pulled the carseat out of the car and she went to sleep. Weirdo baby!

First problem of the day was that I seem to have lost my insurance card. I got Mike to fax a copy of his up to them, so that was fine. The appointment went rather well, although I forgot her discharge records, so I will bring them next time so they have a complete history in their files. The nurse brought her in and weighed and measured her. This morning before we left I was looking at her and I thought she was getting a little bit chubby, but I was surprised to discover she now weighs 9 pounds 4 ounces! And she is now 21 inches long. Faye, the nurse, said she hoped she didn't have to give her a shot today and then we met with the doctor.

Dr. Crane gave her a thorough going over. She was surprised to hear that we weren't seeing Dr. Leonard and I told her that the front desk told me that he wasn't accepting new patients. She said she didn't think that was true and she would check for us. I told her that was fine but as long as Leah was seen there, I didn't really care too much. And even though it's been a while, she remembered seeing me for my infection, which I thought was pretty awesome!

Dr. Crane pronounced that Leah is healthy as a horse. She is very alert and quite strong in the legs. She said that we are off to a great start with her and to keep doing what we are doing--her sleep schedule is great, her baby acne is clearing up nicely, her heart and lungs are good, she has good circulation, the whole 9 yards.

And then it was determined it was time for her second hepatitis shot. I felt badly for Faye, I felt badly for Leah, but I was worried for me. I have an unsettling history of fainting when I see needles. So Dr. Crane suggested I give Leah a bottle while we waited, which Leah only too happily partook of and then Faye arrived with the needle, fretting. She showed me where to hold Leah and prepped her little leg and then it was showtime. Under the circumstances, I thought it would be cool to make a little joke, so I said to the nurse, "Just don't miss and hit me instead" which frankly was pretty brave of me to joke like that. But Faye was so focused, she said, "If I miss and hit anyone, it'll be myself." So anyway, I kept my eyes on Leah's face, and good thing because I got to see that "WTF?!" look that hit her face the minute the needle went in. Literally, that look said it all. And then she opened her mouth and screamed like hell. And wouldn't stop screaming, poor baby. I hugged her and snuggled her, but I was paying for it, you can be sure, and consequently, she screamed the entire ride home, not caring at all that the car was moving. I came home and we both took a nap. Next month's appointment involved 4 shots, and I've already told Michael that he can be damned sure he's taking the day off for that one. I'm going to have a heart attack.

So she's fat, healthy, and partially immunized. She and her daddy are upstairs having some daddy and girl time. In about 30 minutes, she's going to watch LOST with me, and then I'll see if she wants to go to bed or if we're going to pull an all nighter. Busy day tomorrow--dump run, post office run, company for an hour or two in the afternoon, so I want her to be fresh, since she'll be in the car a lot. We'll see what happens!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dad's Learning Curve

This weekend Michael has taken a really active role in learning how to care for Leah. We've been debating Leah coming with me Monday to book club, which Michael is in favor of because he is nervous about changing diapers. I would like to go to book club free and clear, without worrying about packing up Leah and her gear, but I suspect I might lose out on this debate this month. But I don't mind so much.

However, having waited so long for Leah it is hard to let go and let Dad have some needed Dad time! I admit it. I hate putting her down on the floor to play, I hate letting other people hold her, I just want to love her up for a while.

But this weekend, we decided Dad was going to be more in charge. He's learning how to change diapers, first and foremost, and he's doing a great job. It's a definite challenge when you can't see what you're doing, so we're starting off easy on the not-so-messy diapers and he'll graduate eventually. Tomorrow (Sunday) we'll transfer to the cloth diapers, which should be interesting and a whole new ballgame. I'm nervous about it, but since we have lots of disposables left, we're going to use them for "on the go" diapers and stick to cloth at home. I'm excited to see how it goes. The cloth ones are washed and assembled, ready to roll.

Tonight Michael is also going to try soothing her and putting her to bed. So far it's been tough--she's a little cranky tonight, but it's also early, she usually goes to bed around 10:30. He enjoys rocking and cuddling her, so I'm sure she'll settle down eventually and let him put her to bed.

Tomorrow he'll also work on getting a bottle ready. And once that's done, I'll be able to leave them together with full confidence. Which I intend to do for at least an hour tomorrow to clean out my state vehicle.

It's fun watching them bond together and makes it easier to let go just a little bit. She's a real daddy's girl. My mom is leaving tomorrow so having him feel more confident about helping will be a big boost to me too!

What's Next?

We got an email from Beth, our wonderful social worker, who set us straight on what's next. Turns out that (like usual) I have my facts screwed up! So here it is straight from the horse's mouth:

Since the adoption is being finalized in VA, we go by VA standards for post placement. Once I get the Interlocutory Order, I have 6 months to complete 3 post placements. These visits cover basic things like bonding and attachment, the baby’s schedule, developmental milestones, medical issues. Two are in the office and one is in the home. Usually 1 and 3 are in the office, 2 one is in your home. After I complete the 3rd one then, I send a Report of Visitation to the Court, that gives my endorsement for the adoption to be finalized. After that you are done!! (and then we start all over again??)

So there you have it! Three more visits :-) I'm excited too because Beth asked me to do a little write up for their waiting parents newsletter and also asked if we'd be willing to speak on a panel. Our adoption experience has been so overwhelmingly positive that honestly I wish I could get into adoption myself somehow for a career. I'll have to think about it. Regardless, I'm excited about these two opportunities.

We also got Leah's first doctor's appointment set up with her doctor here in Virginia. She'll be seeing Dr. Kathleen Crane on June 3rd. I'm sad that Mike's and my doctor is not currently accepting new patients, but Dr. Crane is in the same practice and I've seen her before and REALLY liked her a lot.