Showing posts with label milestones. Show all posts

I took swim lessons today!!

I have always wanted to learn how to swim.  Swimming is one of my favorite Olympic sports.  I love the motion of it, the beauty in it.  I have always admired people who know how to swim.  I've always wanted to learn.  When I was younger, I was raised in a household with no car in a county that was so deeply segregated that swim lessons would have been laughable to even suggest.

As I got older, I still wanted to learn, but had developed a fear of the water and wasn't comfortable in it as an adult.  I made small strides when we were in the Caymans, but nothing substantial.  Still, I always wanted to learn.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  My husband announced that he had locked on swim lessons for our children (minus baby A) and for us.  He and Bug are pretty good swimmers, but need help on their form.  Honeybee and I were complete novices.  I heard the announcement, but was nervous.  

Saturday, the kids had their first lessons.  Bug did so well that he was immediately advanced to two additional levels and will be moved to the deep pool next Saturday.  Honeybee was very reluctant at first, but quickly overcame the fear to get comfortable and was floating by lesson's end.  Today, S. and I had our lessons.

I was able to put my head underwater, learn to float on belly and back, swim to teacher, and a couple of other things.  I was very proud of myself and I look forward to our next lesson.  It's amazing how many years I've wanted to do this and only recently did anything about it seriously.

What an awesome experience!


What's Buzzing With Our Honeybee? The Four Year Old Version

I was looking through the blog the other day and realized that I hadn't provided a proper update for Honeybee after her February birthday.  I found a pretty nice year end kids interview post from Hands On As We Grow and have picked up a few questions from there to assist.


Height:  Our Honeybee is 37.2 inches tall.  She is in the 6th percentile for her age group.  I'm certainly not complaining as the size allows her to continue to wear the smaller size clothes for a while. I'm all about the cost savings there.

Weight:  So, Honeybee actually gained four pounds since her last visit.  BUT she is still only 26.2 pounds and is in the 0 percentile for her weight.  I asked the doctor should we be concerned and was told no.  Some children are naturally petite and it looks like our Bee is in that boat.

Time is Relative

It’s amazing to me how fast time can seem to glow and at the same time crawl to a snail’s pace. I’m learning as the month slowly progresses to September that time is going to do what time does—continue at its own pace.  

Finalization Progress.  A couple of days ago, I contacted Mrs. Care to see how things were progressing with Honeybee’s finalization.  We’d heard nothing since our lawyer had sent in the paperwork on my birthday.  I wanted to know if she had heard anything before I contacted our lawyer.  [And] She had.  There is still a delay occurring in the court system where Honeybee’s finalization will occur.  Sigh.  The court system only just received her court case files from her other hearings last week.  That information has to be processed and then the paperwork which was sent in this time.  BUT, that processing cannot occur until the cases and casework that was submitted in earlier cases (before Honeybee’s) is processed.  Where we’d once been told we could expect to receive finalization notice before Labor Day now seems to be before the end of September.  Insert HUGE sigh here.  I got off the phone feeling a bit disappointed.  While nothing changes here because our Honeybee is still with us, happy, and growing, she is still not legally our daughter.  And it still isn’t completely done when finalization occurs.  We still have to get new birth certificates and social security cards.  It is my sincere hope that FatherWinter and I can take the day off work and go down to Vital Records together once we have the finalization notice.  We can just go to Vital Records and get the birth certificate and head to the Social Security office to get her new card.  Hopefully, that will be sooner than later.

Daycare.  Yesterday, I went to pick Honeybee up from daycare.  As NanaWinter still watches her on the latter part of the week, the staff knew yesterday would be her last day there for the week.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the information that it would also be her last day in the baby care room.  Oh my goodness!!! Can I tell you how emotional I felt myself getting?!  Next week, my Honeybee will be going to the big girl class.  She’ll sit in big girl chairs in big girl tables.  She’ll learn songs and colors and new experiences.  She’ll make friends and have a great time.  At least that is my hope.  But isn’t it funny how time can flow so slow in one scenario and flow so quickly in another?  I kid you know it seems like I was just dropping Honeybee off at daycare for the first time and getting emotional over that.  Now, there’s a milestone here and I’m amazed by it.

Superbug.  So I spent part of yesterday updating our family’s Google calendar with all of the appropriate information for Superbug.  His county has come out with the school calendars and there are abbreviated days, holidays, parent days, and activities that must be locked in before they catch us unaware.  This year opens new doors for Superbug.  He is a chess whiz.  He gets to join the chess club at school and he really wants to.  There is an option for school chorus this year.  He wanted to do it last year, but the major performance was going to be the week we were out of town and I didn’t want him to be disappointed that we couldn’t come.  The option exists this year.  There are also a few other things that he gets to do that he couldn’t do last year.  It’s such a blessing to see the little man that he is becoming. He has his own interests now and I hope that he will be allowed to pursue them.  I loved that my great-grandmother was such a loving individual, but she was very sheltering.  A lot of things I wanted to do, I couldn’t and I always felt bad about that.  I plan to continue to take her example of being a loving and wonderful mother figure and apply it, but also allow Superbug an opportunity to spread his wings a bit more and become his own little person. 

Announcements.  Well, the last four weeks have garnered three weeks of pregnancy notifications.  There is something in the water for sure.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t decided to swim around my way lol.  I’m super excited for the new expecting mommies.  I wish them all the joy in the world.  Babies are truly a joy.  I'm so happy those I love get to experience the same.  

35 while 35

Inspired by

So yesterday, I turned 35!  Eeek, the big 3..5..  Love it!!  Today I wanted to figure out a way to make 35 more of a meaningful celebration than just one day.  I thought about doing a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year.  This list was inspired by the awesome Elise at Polka Dotted Blue Jay.  I found her 30 while 30  post back in March and decided that, if I am still alive and breathing, I would like to do something similar.  So, here's my list.

To make things even more interesting for me (because I really am trying to get out of my comfort zones), I plan to donate $5 for every item not accomplished by July 21, 2016 to the Alzheimer's Association in honor of my great-grandmother.  If I do accomplish everything, I will donate $200 in her name.

Here's my list and the links or completed dates for those things I do accomplish.

1.   Visit the Newseum
2.   Lose 10 pounds
3.   Have a Mommy-Son weekend with SuperBug
4.   Have a picnic
5.   Pamper myself more (bi-monthly with either massage or nail session)
6.   Lock on 5 new monthly service clients for my business
7.   Attend a Mommy-Daughter Tea with Honeybee (5/14)
8.   Have a professional family photo taken
9.   See adoption finalized for Honeybee (10/1)
10. Bake a pecan pie from scratch.
11. Bake my mother in law's peach cobbler from scratch
12. Gain 35 new blog followers
13. Go camping in a cabin w/s'mores and hiking
14. Go to the National Zoo
15. Spend an afternoon museum hopping all by myself
16. Have monthly date nights with my husband (8/7)
17. Volunteer at the Alzheimer's Association local offices
18. Learn how to swim
19. Host or attend a fab Christmas party complete with games, a photo backdrop, and a visit from Santa (12/12)
20. Start seriously building my investment portfolio
21. Take a weekend trip solo.
22. Learn to tango
23. Attend a professional conference
24. Run a marathon
25. Spend at least 15 minutes a day in quiet devotion to God
26. Visit a new city and explore (8/17)
27. Create a really nice nursery/bedroom for Honeybee
28. Create a really nice bedroom for Superbug
29. Create a really nice bedroom space for FatherWinter and I
30. Finish Masters degree or start new Masters degree program
31. Attend a play or live performance (8/7)
32. Go to a book signing
33. Do a boudoir photo session for my husband
34. Visit a planetarium
35. Attend a black tie affair (4/24)


Weekend Recap: Milestone and Celebration Edition

Hello! We’ve been a bit out of pocket lately. There have been so many deeply personal and private things that have occurred that it didn’t seem proper to share them. That in itself is a bit odd considering this blog serves as a public place to share some of the private occurrence of our family, but I’m a firm believer that some things should remain to oneself until and unless it is beneficial to others. That time isn’t now, BUT it is time to share some of the weekend doings of our family.

Honeybee has decided to take her first steps—consistently. She actually took three very small steps on the 24th, but I didn’t count them on our blog because FatherWinter didn’t see them J. She was with Superbug and I while visiting my cousins and she decided to walk from a small ottoman to an adjacent chair. Three steps, but she made them and looked confused about our claps and excitement. Because I didn’t want FatherWinter to feel bad about missing this milestone, I didn’t say anything knowing she would do again soon. Unfortunately, Superbug didn’t get the memo and excitedly shared the news with him as soon as he got home.

Saturday evening, while we lounged in the family room, Honeybee decided that she wanted to leave Daddy’s seat and come over to me. So, she let go of the cocktail table and walked the distance from his seat to mine, and because she was just so pleased with herself, applauded her steps! Every day since then she has continued this play and, though she still prefers to be carried, this is a great boon for her.

Enjoying her mobility

Saturday afternoon, FatherWinter and I attended the wedding reception of one of his coworkers. It was a beautiful affair with 400 people in attendance. Yes, 400. Everything was so beautifully done and everyone practically oozed good will and love for the couple. We really enjoyed ourselves. Plus, the bride’s dress was GORGEOUS! I’m such a fan. I wish them all the best in the future and many, many years of love to come.

We didn’t leave until close to midnight and the party was still going strong even then. When FatherWinter and I got home, we immediately went to sleep. It was amazing how tired we both were. Guess we aren’t party animals any more J.

Yesterday, we woke in plenty of time for a hearty breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs. We were off to church and received a wonderful message about how God will take your little and make it plentiful. This wasn’t about finance. It was about faith. A little bit of faith with a big result. I needed that Word and was so happy and blessed receive it.

That’s about all that occurred in the Chateu ‘d us. We’ll bring you more soon. Have a great week and a wonderful day.

Happy Anniversary!

It's our anniversary!!!
How blessed we are to see this day.
There is such an amazing journey in it.  Such love.  Such raw and earnest emotion.
Our every day hasn't been perfect.  That's what makes us genuine.
We've had to climb mountains.  We did it together.
We've had to walk in the lowest valleys.  You held me in your arms while we sobbed in unison.
We've had to learn how to speak...and how to listen.  
We've had to open our hearts ...and embrace our minds.
But the beauty in our journey remains
Our path has three distinct imprints--Yours, Mine, and Our Father in Heaven
We have sojourned together and together we always will.
I bless God for you now and always.
I love you!!
Happy Anniversary and may we be blessed with many, many more.

Early in our marriage, someone close to me told me that marriage isn't work and that the people who say it is go into marriage with unrealistic expectations.  I was taken aback because I certainly felt (feel) like marriage was work, not draining or unsatisfying, but work nonetheless.  In the course of time from that conversation to this day, I can assure you marriage IS work.

My husband and I have been married three years today.  Sometimes it feels like quite a few more and that's not a bad thing.  It's amazing to think that three years ago we were just beginning our journey into marriage.  We both came in with expectations of what marriage was going to be.  We'd had countless conversations and even attended premarital counseling.  Well before there was a ring or anything of a ring, we were attending Marriage Ministry classes.  So, we (well I) went in with the expectation that we, who both love God so much, would naturally fall into a perfect rhythm.  Not so much lol.

In our marriage, we have worked together  to embrace two different individuals with different experiences into one flesh.  We two individuals each possessed something so real and so important to God's plan that He allowed us to marry and work together to fulfill His purpose through us.  That's pretty deep.  In some things, it seems quite easy.  In others, it take a little more finesse. But we have continued to love one another and move together with God's guidance in our marriage.

We've faced infertility, two failed adoption matches, a court battle to keep and ultimately adopt our daughter, and the uniqueness of a blended family.  Still, every day I find another reason to love my husband even when our life experiences seem surrounded in darkness.  It is because of that love and God's grace and mercy, that we've been blessed with some really amazing memories and journeys.  

We purchased our first home.  We've managed to put smiles on the faces of my in laws with acts of kindness, love, and appreciation.  We've taken amazing trips.  We have seen the blessing of our son as he grows into his purpose and takes on the adventures of life.  We've been blessed with our daughter when there were times I felt like Hannah in our fertility journey.  We have survived medical scares and times of frustration.  We've had each other's back in ways that would take too long to write about. We've also been imperfect with one another.  We've been weak with one another.  We've been emotional with one another.  But we have remained in love with one another.  We've continued to pray for one another.  We continue to pray for one another.  We love one another as God has loved us.

Three years ago, I walked down a carpeted aisle holding my father's hand staring at this man of God who was ready to vow to me and in front of God to love me with all of him.  I saw this man, my husband to be, and was ready to vow to love him and support him with all of me until God called me home.  I meant that thang (as my girlfriend likes to say).  [And] I always will.

Love you, sweetness.


I walked down the aisle to Chrisette Michele's Golden on our wedding day.  I have loved this song from the first moment I heard it and thought it more than appropriate for us.  These are the lyrics.

Take me back in the day when loving was pure
Love ain't going away, love is always secure
Life's not always perfect but love's always forever
Let's let true love connect lets try lasting together

I'm so ready to love, I'm so ready to promise my all
I'm so ready to give 'til the day that my life is no more
I'll be everything that this woman can possibly be
Cause I'm ready to be like the olden days when commitment was golden

Be the man of my dreams and get down on one knee, love
Say you'll be all I need and then ask me to marry you, my love
Lets take two golden bands and lets walk down the isle, love
I'll say I do and you'll say I do, make a golden commitment, oh

I'm so ready to love, I'm so ready to promise my all
and I'm so ready to give 'til the day that my life is no more
I'll be everything that this woman could possibly be, yes I will
Cause I'm ready to be like the olden days when commitment was golden


"We don't know what's going to happen"

I debated sharing this post.  It's kind of a raw place.  Writing about it almost makes it seem like I'm in a perpetual down place and that's not the case at all.  Quite the contrary in reality.  This week has been pretty good with plenty of smiles.  We've celebrated some really cool milestones like Honeybee climbing the stairs from bottom to top all by herself with Mommy in front her scooting upward and Daddy behind her just in case.  She was so proud of herself.  She sat on the landing and just beamed. We are so proud of you, sweetness.  She did so again this afternoon much quicker than her previous attempt and with much more confidence.  I remember thinking  1.  I'm so proud of her and 2.  Time to put the baby gates up.

So,  no.  It's no a bad place in our home.  But it is a place where honesty is free flowing.  Yesterday, FatherWinter and the family were in the family room watching television when FatherWinter's phone rang.  It was one of our family members calling to see if he, Superbug, and Honeybee would still be making a trip out of town to see another relative they haven't seen in a while.  The conversation was going well and I was about to leave the room so he could continue to talk to his relative in private when I heard "Yes, I really want to take her.  He hasn't met her yet and who knows what's going to happen".

The words hit me like gut checks.  I knew he was referring to the fact that no one knows what is going to happen with our Honeybee.  No one knows the judge's decision.  No one knows how this is going to go.  No one knows if our Honeybee will be our Honeybee for much longer.

"We don't know what's going to happen"

That's the first time that I have ever been aware of FatherWinter speaking anything other than positive thoughts about this journey to his family.  The realization has been sobering. When a man who seems to have this almost annoying ability to always remain optimistic even in haltingly critical times suddenly speaks in questions, it's scary.  It almost seems like we are preparing for the worst.  I suppose we always have been.  We've just not acknowledged that to our extended families, or so I thought.

She. is. our. daughter.

Sigh.  I've gotten in the unconscious habit of publicly vocalizing affirmations over Honeybee.  I don't really remember when it started.  My great grandmother used to do it on occasion. Now I'm doing similar.  I'm just speaking love over .our Honeybee  You are loved.  You are blessed.  You are protected.  You are here.

Every day Honevbee does something new and amazing.  It's amazing how smart she is.  How she is picking up things at a ridiculously quick rate.  I recently downloaded her first app.  It's a sight and sound app that lets her tap the screen and hear the sounds of multiple animals and cars.  She loves it.  LOVES it.  She's figured out how to reset the time out screen so she can play with the goat (her favorite sound) over and over again.  If I try and turn the phone off, she figures out a way to turn the screen back on.  I only let her play with it a little while 10-15 minutes as we go over the animal sounds together, but I am always left in awe at how fast she is growing and at the memories that we get to share.  I don't want to not have the opportunity to do that in the future.

"We don't know what's going to happen"

It's true.  We don't.  The only thing we can do is pray.  And I have.  I will continue to do so.  I will continue to live.  I may even blog about moments of frustration or emotional stress until all is done, but I and our family is okay.  I believe with all that is in me that Honeybee will be just fine, that she will be home with us, and that she will have our love covering her forever.

But I will remember without a single misstep that we truly do not know what is going to happen.


The Year Well Baby Check-up

Today was our Honeybee's one year well baby check-up.  It's hard to believe that a year ago she was making her first visit to the doctor's office with her Interim Infant Care family.  Today, she came in with FatherWinter.

Overall, the visit went well.  Our Honeybee is still a petite young thing.  She is only 14 pounds, but she has a voracious appetite and is never skips meals.  She is also 27.5" long.  She has quite a while before she is able to face forward in her car seat, but I don't mind.  She has a lot of fun playing in her mirrors and talking to her reflection.

Because we had such issues with her allergies in the beginning, we have to schedule new allergy tests to see if we can introduce her to whole milk.  That's not going to be fun.  But it's necessary.  We certainly don't want to introduce anything to her that will make her ill.  So, for now, she is still on her formula.

She received her immunizations and has a clean bill of help.  It's interesting to see how much she has progressed in just a few short months.  She loves to play Itsy Bitsy Spider.  She mimics a lot of words now.  "No", "Hi", and "Bye" are favorites.  I really am looking forward to being able to share photos of here with you.

The weather is about to start warming up (despite the approaching snow storm for this week).  I'm looking forward to zoo visits, to picnics, to fun.  I'm looking forward to watching her grow up and to being able to share some of that as well.

But, that will be at a different time.  For now, it's time for us to go to bed.  Well, time for me to go to bed.  Everyone else is already sleep.  I'm looking forward to doing the same.

Have a great evening.

Recap: Honeybee's MinnieSwank Birthday Party

Hi everyone!

We are soooo overdue for this post, but it has been an absolute madhouse here.  All last week we were watching the weather ahead of a predicted snow and ice storm.  We were so worried we would have to cancel the event.  We were right.  On Saturday morning, we sent out mass emails and texts and canceled the event until the next day.  The roads were just too dangerous.  We were disappointed, but it gave us more time to get other things done.

The next morning, we loaded up the cars and made our way to church.  There was a lot to load up!  We actually got to church late.  FatherWinter, Superbug, and Honeybee went inside the sanctuary to hear the remainder of the service.  I realized we were much later than I thought we were and had a lot more to do, so I stayed in the fellowship hall and started decorating.  Fortunately, for me, Ms. Flourishing Hope arrived to save the day.  She was an amazing help (thank you!!!)

Minnie Bow-bites

I wish we could share photos of her face or of the video of our singing happy birthday to her.  We also have additional decor photos. But God willing, we'll be able to share all of that soon.  Overall, we had an amazing time.  Ms. Flourishing Hope was amazing and we could not have done it without her.

Here's our rundown.

Theme:  #MinnieSwankAffair (Invite from Sherry K Designs.  Free downloadable)

Colors:  Pink & Black

Menu:  Mickey's Pizza, Daisy's Meek n' Mild Wings, Cinnamon Sticks, Minnie Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Chips, Mickey Trail Mix, Minnie's Pudding Cups (strawberry yogurt and chocolate chips), Pete's Meatballs, Minnie Bow Tie Bites (strawberries and blueberries), Fruit Plate, Birthday Cake

Playing Catch Up

Yep, things have been more than a bit busy around our way lately.  I have been trying to share some of our family doings for a while now, and truthfully; I’ve just been too tired to share.  Forgive me for that one.  Because I know there are some family and friends from afar who use this blog as a “what’s going on” board, let me see if I can play catch up.

Welcoming the newest member.  A few days ago, we were able to post a picture of the newest addition to the family.  Both mommy and daughter are still doing well.  FatherWinter and Superbug saw her on her first day home.  As Honeybee still had a bit of green mucus, I decided not to go.  I can’t wait to hold and love her though!  She’s such a big baby already!

SuperBowl .  In true Winter family tradition, the family gathered at one of the siblings homes and watched SuperBowl.  It was a nice time for the most part…minus that last play.  (REALLY?!) 

Only two people of the 20 or so gathered were cheering for the Patriots, so every other face in the place ended up looking like this…

(Thanks, Clark Mitchell and Chat Sports for the swipe)

Yeah, it was a shocking development.  I heard on the news this morning that the Seahawks coach says he wakes up at night thinking of that call and that play.  Hmmm….I bet he does. 

I think one of the highlights of the game for some of the guys was the Katy Perry halftime show.  I mean, it was pretty okay.  I liked the “lion” moving across the ground with the team and her roar, but this show wasn’t my favorite in SuperBowl performances.  I think the highlight for me was seeing Missy Elliot.  I had fun reliving some high school and college moments with her appearance.  It was all blue and gold and band dances for a moment...
...sorry, marching band flashback.  Thanks for letting me see how the new heads do it now that I've flown the coop :)

But still, I think the show was just okay.  (Don’t go off on me, Perry fans.) Katy is a super talented artist, but I think she and her performance was a “safe” choice for a sporting event that has seen more than it cares to remember in the way of controversy (a la Janet Jackson anyone). 
Overall, it was a pretty good night for family, food, and fellowship. 

2nd Semester Awards.  On last Friday evening, Superbug came home with a letter informing us that he would be receiving an award for the 2ndSemester on the following Monday.  He was very excited as he has been working very hard this semester.  All weekend long, he reminded me of the ceremony and was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it.  Fast forward to Monday morning and I awoke about 20 minutes earlier than I usually do so that I could make sure everything and everyone was ready to leave the house on time.  Instead of allowing Superbug to catch the bus, I drove him to school and then drove Honeybee to her daycare.  I immediately dropped her off and then returned to the school to watch the awards ceremony with 15 minutes before start time!  Woo hoo!
A couple of weeks ago, Superbug’s class had to learn portions of famous speech’s.  Superbug decided to learn the 2nd half of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.  I was unable to hear him recite the speech (which was so sad for me), but was pleased that he was the only student in the class to receive a 4 (highest) on his speech!  As the awards ceremony began, I was surprised to see my Superbug on stage with three of his peers reciting the speech.  Superbug had the hand motions, the articulation, and the voice control down!  I was SO proud of him!  I couldn’t stop snapping pictures!
After the recitation, the third grade teachers handed out earned semester awards.  These awards focus on the core character values taught at the school.  I was very pleased and humbled when Superbug received the Helping Hands award.  According to his teacher, Superbug has a massive heart and is always the first to help teacher, staff, or student.  He goes out of his way to make life easier for everyone else.  She spoke other very kind words about him as well.  I was SO very, very proud of him again.  He’s only 8, but he already has so much love in his heart.  He puts me to shame sometimes J .

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father which is in heaven (KJV) .  That’s our Superbug to the letter.

1st Birthday Party.  Yep, I’m super excited.  Our Honeybee is about to turn 1!  In a previous post, FatherWinter calmed down a massive planning.  So, I’ve adjusted fire and we’re still doing a nice birthday party with pink and black d├ęcor and color scheme.  Think Minnie Mouse meets chic fashion.  Yeah, it all works in my head!
Pinterest and Vistaprint have been great helps.  The board has given me some great ideas and my fellow blogger @FlourishingHope has been wonderful in the encouragement and creativity department!
No, Honeybee's name isn't Rylee, but isn't this
a cute cake?!

Honeybee will have a host of her family and friends at the event.  We’re even including her Interim Infant Care family and her social worker Ms. Care.  I can hardly wait to share pictures of the day.  I’m still disappointed that we can’t share photos of her face from that day, but it will still be fun to show everything else.

The Hearing.  From my previous post, you know that Honeybee’s TPR Appeal trial was continued until some legal requests from the judge and GAL could be fulfilled.  The wait is excruciatingly long AND each day there is something else to thin about with regard to the hearing.  Today, Ms. Care contacted us to inform us that this may not be an over and done with hearing come the continuance date in the Spring.  Without getting involved in all of the legal and personal information related to our Honeybee, a legal intent statement was via email today that completely set my mind in a different and none to pleased place. 
It likewise caused Ms. Care to be extremely frustrated.  It is very frustrating to know that you love your child so much, are giving them everything they need, some of the things they want, and have been doing so since shortly after their birth, but someone else who has never even seen or acknowledged your child has the ability to cause so much strife.  Sigh, you all keep praying for us.  This road is stressful to say the least.  I know that whatever the outcome, God will have his glory, but I would be lying if I said my thoughts have always been butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes I’m just so frustrated that I find myself wishing it was already done by now.  But I know there is a blessing within every struggle.  I’m just tired of walking in that struggle.
Hopefully and prayerfully, this will come to a resolution in a few months.  In the mean time, we're going to continue to love Honeybee as best as we know how...with all of us.
We hope you have a great evening and check back soon.  Plenty of upcoming things in our Winter family.  Keep us in your prayers please.

Of Doctor Visits and Delays

Yesterday was our Honeybee’s 9-month well baby visit.  FatherWinter took her to the doctor’s office and was met by Honeybee’s social worker, Ms. Care.  We wanted to make sure that Ms. Care received all of the medical documentation.  We’ve found that sometimes the doctor’s office forgets to forward it on to Ms. Care and we need it to build for Honeybee’s court file.  We weren’t really expecting anything at the visit.  Honeybee has been all smiles and coos lately, with the exception of a couple of flares.

Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call after the visit to inform me that Honeybee has not one, but TWO ear infections!!!  My poor baby!  She hadn’t been pulling her ears or complaining or anything.  We had no idea.  My poor, poor Honeybee!!  The NP suggested that the culprit could be the cold that Honeybee has been fighting all week long.  Honeybee was prescribed an antibiotic.  They did the measuring and found out she is 13 lbs, 2.5 ounces and has only gained 1 pound 7 ounces since her last visit.  I was a bit concerned about that, but since her appetite is so voracious (Honeybee can EAT), there wasn’t much concern from the office staff.

There were, however, items requiring observation.  Honeybee has a slight developmental delay with her fine and gross motor skills.  She will put food in her mouth, but can’t use her thumb and forefinger.  She tries to feed herself with her entire fist.  She pulls herself up to her knees, but not to her legs consistently as the doctors said she should.  She also doesn’t wave or respond to bye-bye.  Sigh.  When Ms. Care told me that, I was a bit worried that we’d done something to fail Honeybee.  I was assured that we had not.  Honeybee’s delays are slight and could be simply a biological development. 

She reminded me that our Honeybee is a mobile machine.  She gets everywhere she wants as fast as she wants.  She is more than inquisitive and has learned to vocalize to get her point across.  While the delays were something to be aware of, there was no need to panic.  We would just govern ourselves according to the need.  I appreciated the assurance, but made sure to immediately start seeking developmental toys that could help in her development delays and games she and I could play that would encourage the same.
Our Honeybee is a mobile machine!

 Then, there was our friend, the dreaded ECZEMA.  Ugh….I thought we’d slain this beast (or at the very least knocked his butt out).  It turns out the weather change has been doing a number on Honeybee’s skin.  While last week it was smooth, yesterday Honeybee’s back, ankles, inner thigh, and side were all alligator like and ridiculously dry DESPITE the momentasone and tons of SheaMoisture Shea Butter Eczema cream that I grease her down with every morning and night.  (Not paid as a promotion or anything, but my personal opinion is this stuff is AWESOME!)

The NP, with the doctor’s approval, has now given us a new lotion prescription that we are to use daily, as well as orders for a very specific brand of soap that is not inexpensive.  SIGH.  I’d noticed 
the skin fluctuations, but thought I could get it back in line without the harsh products minus her cream of course.  Hopefully, we will be able to find something soon.  Honeybee hasn’t really been complaining, but she hasn’t really been sleeping as peacefully as summer months either.  Occasionally, the itching keeps her up until 10 and awakens her at 2. Maybe the new additions will help.

Overall, the visit may not have gone as great as I would have liked it to have gone, but I have no complaints.  Honeybee is a happy, babbling, energetic, and loving baby girl who is so loved, it is ridiculous!  I am still looking forward to exposing her to some great new experiences whether she remembers them or not.  With a less itchy belly and finer motor skills, the experience can only enhanced!  Stay tuned to see what’s coming next!


She's scooting!!!!!

Okay, okay.  I will admit that Honeybee has been making some amazing moves recently, seeming to get from one end of the crib to the other in record time, but I'd never actually seen her make the moves.  She always seemed to move when I wasn't around and then grin when I turned back to see her progress.  So, I've been very patient and today, Honeybee shared with me what she has been sharing with her grandmother and father.  Honeybee scooted.  Yep, she kind of military crawled and jumped-ish to grab at my toes.  Apparently, she was fascinated with the red color.

What a great moment.  She practically beamed at me.  So, our Honeybee has started scooting at seven months.  This means a few things.  Number 1.  It means additional baby proofing.  We had quite a bit to do prior to Honeybee's arrival per the rules of our agency.  So, most of the plugs are already covered.  The lower level cabinets have locks.  The medicine cabinet has locks.  But, we have a lot of stairs around here.  We'll definitely need to invest in a couple of baby gates.  Number 2 was touched on a few posts ago.  It is just about time for Honeybee to buzz with other little boys and girls during the day.  I am still nervous about that, but we have found a place that we trust and that is only a few minutes drive from my office (less than ten).  I can get there immediately if something happens or if I just want to pop in for lunch.  Number 3.  It means our Honeybee is growing up.  She'll be crawling soon and I remember how fast her big brother was.  I can only imagine how much faster she will be.

I'm super excited about the newest accomplishment.  I wish I could share pictures and video of the event, but God willing, this time next year, you'll be tired of our family posts :)

Have a very good evening and be blessed!!


Of Milestones, Of Experiences, Of Separation...

Guess what?!  Our Honeybee is seven months old!  That kind of snuck up on me.  I was more than a little shocked to look on the calendar and realize that, oh my goodness, she is getting older.  I know.  I know.  It’s not like she is going to stay young forever, but wow that ca
me a lot quicker than we were expecting.  It’s been great.  Lately every day is an adventure for her.  She recently started grasping for bottles, extending her hand to be picked up, and *gasp* she said “ma ma” the other day.  Granted, she was just babbling, but it was really great to hear it from her lips.  Though I must admit, I melt a little every time she says “da da” and is clearly speaking to my husband.  The love in his eyes makes hearts stop. (Plus I think it makes him quite handsome).

 Our Honeybee has been growing happily.  Her eczema medication has been working wonders and she is every bit the beautiful, bouncy, attentive, seven-month-old that she can be.  Recently, she has started displaying signs of mobility.  She is subtle though.  We’ll put her in her crib on one side and when she wakes up, she has made it the length of the crib.  She has begun scooting and is actively trying to pull herself up, which is amazing in itself.  She will roll up to FatherWinter and pull until she gets a good grip and will then get into a half-stand/half-crouch position.  This child is clearly not going to settle for lying down, being held, going with the flow.  J  We’re fine with that.  Personally, I think she is trying to keep up with SuperBug who is her constant source of entertainment.  She sees him and starts bouncing.  He’s her best buddy and Superbug feels the same way. 

Honeybee, herself, is having fun showing off J.  We recently had our supervisory visit with Honeybee’s social worker.  It is always a joy to see her and she enjoyed watching Honeybee blow raspberries and babble.  We went over a list of things she is doing and not doing according to “milestones” and it got me curious.  I remembered with SuperBug I used to write out on a blog everything that he had achieved and wasn’t quite doing.  So, I pulled up the list for Honeybee…just to see where she is.

·   Movement Milestones.  According to the developmental charts, Honeybee is doing just fine.  She is rolling front to back and back to forth.  She is sitting with and without support.  The without can sometimes be wobbly, but she does it.  She is supporting her weight on her legs and reaching with her hands.  She transfers objects from hand to hand and does the raking grasp to pick up things.  (We’re about to introduce her to the soft dissolve treats to help her pincher function and feeding ability).

·         Visual Milestones.  Honeybee is definitely tracking objects and seems to favor brightly colored outfits.  I’ve been having fun allowing Honeybee to “choose” her own outfits.  I’ll select two outfits and set them in front of her.  The one she grabs is the one we will wear.  I know it is an unscientific approach, but I remember hearing my grandmother say she did it with me.  I did it with my son.  It’s enjoyable doing the same with my daughter.

·         Language Milestones.  Honeybee is responding to her own name.  She knows when you call her by her name.  She knows when she is being spoken about.  It’s funny to have her sitting and occupied with her activity mat and then see her turn her head and grin when she hears her name.  The checklist says she should soon begin to respond to “no”.  Hmmm….I haven’t really seen that yet, but we really haven’t had to tell her “no”.  We have had to say “shhh” a couple of times.  She sometimes likes to scream during prayer lol.  (Making a joyful noise I imagine).  The guidelines say she should respond to sounds by making her own.  Yep.  She has that one down!  If you scream, she screams.  If you blow raspberries, she blows them back.  She’s all in on that.  Likewise to the requirement that she use her voice to express joy and displeasure.  Honeybee can “fuss” with the best of them.  A string of dadadadadada and incoherent babbles let me know she is NOT happy with someone.

·         Cognitive Milestones.  Honeybee is a fan of looking for partially hidden objects.  That doesn’t mean she always finds them.  But she won’t stop looking and that’s good enough for me J.  Honeybee definitely explores with her hands and mouth.  Nowadays anything within arm’s reach tries to go into her mouth including my earrings ON MY EAR lol.  I’ve learned not to wear danglies and she is learning not to pull the shiny things on Mommy’s lobes. 

·     Social and Emotional Milestones.  Does she enjoy social play?  Yes and yes again.  Honeybee can play for hours just with her brother running around in a circle while she is in the activity chair trying to follow him.  She is often joyful and loves looking in the mirror to play with her reflection there.

And then, there is the one that has me torn.  It’s the one that has me overthinking and addressing everything.  It’s separation anxiety.  I noticed the other day that when I was preparing to leave the house for work, Honeybee started to cry.  She appeared genuinely upset that I was leaving her.  NanaNorth picked her up, spoke lovingly to her, and made her smile, but when she saw me by the door, it reminded her that I was leaving and she got teary eyed.  I felt awful, but thought it was just a fluke.  The next day, it was the same thing, this time I was about to run to a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t take her.  She had been quite content in FatherWinter’s arms watching the game.  She turned her head, saw me leaving, and once again got teary eyed.  I walked over, hugged her, talked to her, and soothed her for another five minutes before walking out.  Again, I felt awful.  And now, the past two days have seen her cry or get teary eyed every time I leave the house.  Both days were for work. 

Last night, I was about to leave for choir rehearsal and let her stay with FatherWinter and NanaNorth.  But she looked so pitiful.  I asked my husband if he wanted me to take her with me.  Normally, it would not have even been a question as rehearsal ends right at her bedtime.  She would have been up an extra 30 minutes just getting into bed and for the ritual.  But, again, she looked so pitiful.  She stayed smiling with me the entire time listening to Mommy learn the songs for Sunday, playing with her fingers, and then it was time to go home.  She stayed up for another hour (fortunately FatherWinter was up also) just “talking”.  Then, she slept.  But this morning, when it was time to walk out the door.  There she was again.  Upset that I was leaving.

On one hand, I’m pleased to see the anxiety.  Well, not pleased, but understanding.  It means to me that she has bonded with me, that she knows I am Mommy, that she knows I am about to go, and she wants to experience what I am about to experience.  On the other hand, I worry about the anxiety because even though she was placed with us as a newborn, studies have shown that chemicals are passed in the womb that equate to rejection.  Not to say this occurred, but the overthinker in me wants to make sure that Honeybee knows that I am not rejecting her when I walk out the door.  I’m leaving to make sure provisions are made for our family.  Just like FatherWinter does.  I remember this was about the same that my Superbug showed his separation anxiety.  It only lasted a couple of weeks, so I’m hopeful this will too.  BUT, there is an entirely new caveat to consider.
Soon, Honeybee will be old and mature enough for daycare.  She will be more mobile and it will be easier on NanaNorth if Honeybee is with more able bodied and energetic caregivers who can keep up with her during the day.  While no one is rushing this day, we know it is coming.  FatherWinter and I have evaluated numerous locations and are fairly certain that we have a good location for Honeybee’s daycare experience.  BUT I would be less than honest if I said I wasn’t concerned about the timing of placement and her separation anxiety.  I would love it if Honeybee could stay with my mother-in-law until she is much, much older.  But I also recognize, remember, and appreciate the confidence that was gained in my son when he was allowed to interact with children his age.  He forged some close bonds and learned some great socialization.  I’d like to hope Honeybee will experience those things too.

I suppose the thought processes in my head are those that go back to the training session my husband and I recently had.  We focused on 7 core issues in adoption for birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children.  Loss, Rejection, Guilt/Shame, Grief, Identity, Intimacy & Relationships, and Control.  While most people would think of separation anxiety as part of the normal developmental process, I see so much more.  I see our Honeybee possibly being exposed to feelings of loss and rejection.  She doesn’t know if I’m coming back.  It may feel like I’m not there.  I know.  I know.  I’m overthinking, but still I don’t want her to ever think that she isn’t a priority in her family’s life (and her family includes her birth family).  Everyone has done what they believe is best for her.  I would hope that this anxiety only lasts a couple of weeks (or less).  I am certain it will, but I have to admit.  It still bothers just a bit.


Superbug turns 8!!!

Whew!!! What a weekend!  This weekend, FatherWinter, Honeybee, and I had the great joy of celebrating SuperBug's 8th birthday!  Yes, eight!  Where on earth did the time go?!  It seems like yesterday I was in the hospital about to delivery him and today, he is choosing outfits and making "cool" decisions.  Sigh, he's still my SuperBug though.

SuperBug has been looking forward to his birthday.  He's been reminding people about it for weeks.   He was ready to see what the day would bring.  Our family only host birthday parties for milestone birthdays, but make sure every birthday is special. At 8, it isn't a milestone, but our making it special was a definite on the list :).

On Friday afternoon, with the permission of SuperBug's teacher, I visited his school and deposited mini cupcakes and Capri-Suns to the birthday boy and his classmates.  His face upon walking through the door and seeing me sitting there with the sweet confections was priceless.  It's one of the reasons I love being Mommy.
An SUPER birthday weekend for our SuperBug

After singing "Happy Birthday" with his classmates and serving the birthday treats, I helped to clean up and then left the school to run home and put together a big surprise.  With the help of my mother in law, we put up a massive birthday banner, a really cool balloon, a birthday table cloth with birthday sparklies, and waited for Superbug to come home.

He walked through the door and talked about how happy he was that I came and how much he enjoyed the cupcakes.  Then, he went to work on his chores, completely missing the decorated room :).  Shortly thereafter, FatherWinter arrived and we allowed SuperBug to open one gift.  As you can see in the picture, he was thrilled to see that the gift was a tablet like his parents.  He'd been asking for one for quite some time and finally received the birthday wish from FatherPharaoh.

After the gift was opened and everyone settled, we left for SuperBug's birthday dinner knowing that he had not yet seen the birthday decorations in the room and that we'd not surprised him with them. Traditionally, the birthday person gets to decide the meal and location.  This year, SuperBug decided he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. This was a shock to us as he has only been a handful of times, but it was his birthday.

Before we left, we received a wonderful surprise as Superbug's grandparents NanaBug and PapaBug stopped by with a card and birthday money!  SuperBug was very grateful and extremely excited that he now had money in his pocket and additional money to save!  After posing for a family photo with his grandparents, we were off.

At Chuck E. Cheese we ordered pizza, had a good time, and watched SuperBug enjoy the games and activities.  Chuck E. came out to wish everyone a great day and give tickets, so Superbug took a pic with him.  About 9:30, we decided we'd done all that we could do and returned home.

It was when we walked into the house and into the specially decorated room that SuperBug finally saw the transformed space.  Once again, a huge grin broke out on his face as he saw the additional gifts and the birthday cake.

After opening gifts, receiving a Happy Birthday song from us, and more money from Grandmother North, he was ready to call it an evening thinking the day was done....

Oh but on SATURDAY!!!  Superbug woke up to do chores as usual.  We all doing our routines of sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming before leaving the house.  Only this time, the destination was somewhere EPIC!!!!

We went to see Marvel Universe Live!!!!  Okay, if you are not familar with the Marvel characters, let me just say Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man, Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye.....and the list goes on and on and on and on!  It was a great show where our heroes are forced to save the world after Loki (Thor's brother) has created a device (which I will not name lest I give away too much) that has the potential to destroy the world and enslave all MANKIND!!!!!!  (insert gasps of horror here :)

It was awesome.  SuperBug and Honeybee (yes, we took her) were rapt with attention.  They enjoyed the special effects, the explosions, the stunts.  SuperBug thought it was fantastic and would definitely go again.  I was just pleased he enjoyed himself so much.

After the show was over, our day ended with Hibachi and laughter.  Overall, SuperBug had a great birthday and I was glad to see the smile on his face.  I am huge on birthdays and I'm pleased to know that Superbug was blessed to celebrate his.