Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Three Months and Many Hugs Later

Dear Jeremy and Zachary,

Today is our three month-a-versary as a family! That's right--three months ago today, you were placed in our arms, and our lives were changed forever for the best! I could go on and on about your accomplishments, the milestones you've reached, and how you've grown...so I will.  :)

Jeremy, nearly everyone who meets you comments on your language skills--that includes people who know you were adopted three months ago from Ethiopia as well as complete strangers who think you've been an American since birth. You are very sociable and say "Hi" to anyone who crosses your path, and then you say "Bye-bye!" and throw them kisses with your hand as you part with them, as if the bank teller (for example) was a long lost auntie. The hair on your head that I accidentally buzzed shortly after your arrival, has grown back into handsome curls. Most notably, you are crazy about your Nana. Everyday, you ask if we're going to "Nana house?" or if the white car on the street is "Nana beep beep?" or if that was Nana who I was just talking with on the phone.

Zachary, you are growing like a weed! When we brought you home, you were on a diet of baby formula only, and today you had baby food three times in addition to your bottles of formula. The stick straight hair you had when we brought you home has grown into a head of beautiful, dark, silky curls. You love watching Jeremy's every move, and no one can make you laugh like he can. My favorite sound is when we are driving along and I can hear Jeremy saying "Boo!" from his car seat and then hearing laughter coming from you on the other side of the back seat.

Today, I woke you (Zachary) up from a nap and rather than perking right up and looking around like you often do, you nuzzled into me and put your arm over my shoulder as if you were giving me a hug or holding tight. It was wonderful. As I came downstairs with you, Jeremy ran up to us and threw his arms around my leg, giving me a great big hug.

Two wonderful hugs from my two wonderful sons! Jeremy and Zachary, I love you so much, and I want you to know that as many hugs as you have for me throughout your lives, I'll have just as many to give right back to you (and then some)!


P.S. Before we knew you would be our sons, your Dad and I used to wonder if God would give us affectionate children. Both Daddy and I are affectionate people. We love hugs, and we were a little bit nervous that perhaps we would adopt non-huggers. How unnecessary that worrying was! Jeremy, you must be the most affectionate child I've ever known. You have an endless supply of hugs for Mama and Daddy, which we LOVE!!! And Zachary, if your post nap nuzzle today was any indication of things to come, I'm gonna be one loved-on Mama. Just further evidence that our little family is a match made in Heaven!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Lil' Texans!

Our foreign adoption decree has been officially recognized by the court here in Texas, and today we received original birth certificates for the boys issued by the state of Texas!

They are really neat! It has their new names, and it lists us as their mother and father, and it says they were born in Ethiopia. Not too many people have Texan birth certificates stating that they were born in another country!

Receiving these birth certificates is the last step in "finalizing" their adoptions in the United States. Because they entered the U.S. on an IR-3 visa, they became United States citizens upon entry, so we didn't have to "readopt" them in the U.S. courts. We just had to have a local court officially recognize the adoption decree issued by the Ethiopian courts, and when that happened they were able to get Texan issued birth certificates!

Next stop? Social security office to get them their numbers/cards. And eventually, U.S. Passports!


On an anecdotal side note, my nephew Sam gave Jeremy a hand-me-down pair of cowboy boots a couple weeks ago. Jeremy loves to wear them and says, "Boots!" I'm thinking he's feeling real comfortable putting down roots in TX!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keepin' it Real

I got a sweet message from a friend today who is another adoptive mom, and she commented that in my Facebook profile pictures, I make motherhood look so easy-peasy.

I had to chuckle to myself because I'm such an idealist, and I realized that the pictures I usually share on Facebook and my blog are my favorite moments where everyone is behaving well and getting along. Plus, the beauty of digital photography is the "delete" feature, so I usually just delete the pics where someone is whining or grimacing.

So in the interest of keeping it real, I thought I'd share these photos that I asked my neighbor to take of us one day because the boys and I were all color-coordinated. Here are the results:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time with Nana

For those of you who don't know this, my husband and I moved from California to Texas a year and a half ago. One of the joys of living back in Texas (and now raising our kids here) is being close to my Mom (aka Nana). Instead of living half a country away, we are now just an hour away. I'm thrilled that my kids will grow up with a close relationship with her. When I was a child growing up in Texas, one set of my grandparents lived in California and the other lived in Florida. I loved them and knew them, but only saw them once or twice a year. So the fact that my kids see their Nana every week is special.

Jeremy is nuts over Nana. Every time my cell phone rings, he wants to know if it is her. He asks if we're going to Nana's house, and when he sees a white car, he proclaims, "Nana! Beep beep!"

My mom has started coming down to my house once a week to hang out with us, and we LOVE it! Thank you for being in our lives, Mom/Nana! We love you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Seven Month Old

Dear Zachary,

You're a seven month old! I couldn't have asked for a more delightful baby. You are sweet, laid back, content, and happy. I love your smiles and coos. And what a handsome boy you are!

Your Dad and I met you for the first time when you were just three and a half months old, so I guess you could say that we've known you for about half your life!

When we brought you home just two and a half months ago, your hair was straight as could be. Not anymore! Your curls and waves are starting to come in, and I love them!

Most of all though, I just love you.

Hugs and squeezes and kisses on your cheeks,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Adoption Announcement

This is the adoption announcement that we recently sent out to our close friends and family. Obviously, the original is prettier than this, but for privacy's sake, I decided to blot out the boys' birthdays, birth cities and our last name. But I couldn't resist sharing the announcement here. 

It was designed by another adoptive mom named Laura at One Family, Many Lives. She is a freelance graphic designer who is creating adoption announcements for adoptive families to raise money for her own adoption! Her price is VERY reasonable, and she's one talented lady! So if you're looking for a unique adoption announcement to tell your loved ones about your family's newest addition, head over to Laura's blog to find out the skinny on how to order your very own custom designed announcement! I was so pleased with how ours turned out!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Loving our Jeremy

Just look at this face:

Jeremy is definitely not lacking in personality! He is full of fun, has a touch of mischief, and is very sweet and affectionate with his family. We are crazy about him!

He loves to be outdoors, and our afternoons are often spent in the backyard playing.

He loves cars and hearing horns honk. He calls cars "beep beeps". Our playhouse has a wheel that he likes to steer while saying, "beep beep"!

He also enjoys the slide...

One thing's for sure...he keeps us on our toes!

We love you, Jeremy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Loving our Zachary

Zachary is such a wonderful baby, and we just love having him in our family! He's sleeping through the night now, and we usually wake him up at 10 p.m. to give him one last bottle before bed. When he's done with that last bottle of the day, we love to cuddle with him and listen to him coo before we put him back in his crib to sleep.


Here's a little sample of his late night cooing. Brian's long legs are in the backgroud, and he wants me to assure you that he did have pants on!

He's awful cute at bath time, too...

Kissing his little face is bliss!

In the afternoons, Jeremy usually likes to play in the backyard, so I bring Zach out with us in his bouncer for a little sunbath...

I just love the above photo.... His features look especially Ethiopian to me in this pic.  

We love you, Zachy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crazy Exhaustion, Certificates of Citizenship, Bonding with Zachy, Charmed by Jeremy

Over the past few weeks, I've been fighting some serious exhaustion. I could write a really long post about it, but the bottom line is that I still have no idea what was/is going on with me. After a week and a half of feeling so sluggish that I could barely peel myself off of the sofa, I went to the doctor. He examined me and ran blood tests and basically told me that he couldn't find anything wrong with me. My main symptoms were exhaustion, headaches, occasional fever, sweats/chills. I started to feel really frustrated and depressed because I wasn't getting better, or I'd think I was getting better, but then I'd relapse. I started to wonder if I was dealing with Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (because exhaustion is one of the main symptoms), but after listening to a talk on it, I don't think that's what it was. My best guess is that something viral is just taking its sweet time running through my system. OR I've been pretty exhausted ever since I came home from Ethiopia and it just gets worse at different times and it manifests itself with flu-like symptoms. Thankfully, I seem to be bouncing back this week, and I hope I'll be back to my normal self soon!


The boys each received their United States Certificate of Citizenship in the mail! I forgot, though, that it doesn't have their new names on it. So I'm guessing that after we complete their Recognition of Foreign Adoption Decree and receive their state-issued Birth Certificates with their new names on it, we'll have to reapply for the Certificate of Citizenship reflecting their name changes. Hmmm. Have any of you other adoptive families thought about this one yet?


In other fun news, Zachary fell asleep in my arms today! This was a first and for me it felt like a significant step in our bonding. Typically, he'll take his bottle, and even if he's sleepy after being burped, he won't fall asleep in my arms. He prefers to be swaddled and put in his crib with a pacifier. But today, I fed him a bottle and he fell asleep during the feeding. Then I burped him, and he was still sleepy, so I cradled him in my arms and he just fell back to sleep. I got all teary looking down at him sleeping in my arms. Sometimes he even smiles when he's sleeping. It felt so special to me because it's as if he is trusting me more and he's learning that I'm his Mama, and a safe place to doze. I just love that! And I love him so!


Jeremy continues to charm me daily. Last week, I was a little chilly, so I threw on a cardigan over my t-shirt, and Jeremy looked at me and said, "Wow!"  That pretty much made my day! Love him!