Thursday, December 11, 2008

The most wonderful gift

I am a free woman. Okay, I'm free from school work anyway.

Gabriel's four month check up was last thursday. He is so big! He weighs 16lbs 7oz (80th percentile) and is 251/4 inches long (75th percentile). His head is 60th percentile, so pretty much normal. Mark couldn't go to this appointment, so he gave me a list of things he wanted me to ask our pediatrician. One of them was about Gabriel's bowel movements (I know, really pleasant). Mark is a worrier. Me? Not so much. However, the doctor did say we should start feeding him veggies, fruit, diluted apple juice, and cereal in order to give him more fiber. I wasn't incredibly surprised, but Mark was really taken off guard. He said, "I just didn't realize that we were there yet. That's a whole new area to think about." I didn't think it was really that big a deal, but I do think Mark is awfully cute for being so surprised. He really is a wonderful and involved dad. I love him.

Yesterday Gabriel rolled over for the first time! I put him on his tummy on the floor and he eventually rolled onto his back. I left him there for a minute to go check on some baking, and when I came back he was back on his tummy. I was so excited that I was there. I am loving being home. I love being at home with Gabriel.

The holidays have taken on a whole new meaning for me this year, and we are loving the experience of Christmas with him. He is our greatest gift and blessing this year. I can't express how thankful I am to have him. Plus, how could you not love those cheeks? I am continuing a tradition of my mother's by making pastries for our friends, neighbors, and family. This is not just any pastry. It is filled with homemade custard, a crumb mixture, and has icing drizzeled all over it. It is soooo good. Here is a pic of the final product.
This Christmas I decided I was not going to let myself get stressed out about stuff and I am really enjoying myself.

Here are some photos from Christmas so far. He is such an inquisitive and happy baby and it really shows. We love him. What is the most wonderful gift I have this year? My family. No doubt. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkins, Romance, A Prince, and Beautiful New clothes. All we need is talking mice (or not).

Is he the cutest pumpkin ever, or what?! Halloween was a lot of fun. Gabriel and I came home early that day since I only had one class instead of three. We cleaned the house, played together, and got ready for everyone to come over later that evening. Mark came home and decided that he needed to carve the pumpkin that was sitting on our kitchen table. Normally, I would have been irritated by this, but I was just so excited that I didn't care. Admittedly, when he was using that as an excuse to not go with us, I got a little miffed, but he finished quickly and came with us, so it was okay. Mark isn't fond of Halloween, but that's a completely different story.

So, my dad, Mark's parent's, his sister, Sarah, and Becky, Peter, Chase, Parker and Isaac all arrived between 5:45 and 6:15pm. We made last minute adjustments to costumes, took some pictures, and we were off. Poor Parker has asthma and was wheezing pretty bad about 15 minutes into trick-or-treating, so Mark and Peter took him back to our house for a breathing treatment. He insisted on going back out though once that was done. Our beautiful little pumpkin fell asleep about 3 minutes into it. Literally, we hadn't even gotten past the first house. But, the trick-or-treating part wasn't really for him anyway, so it was more cute than anything.

Last week was the most exhausting week of this quarter, so far. I had to write a mental health policy paper on an act concerning mentally ill offenders (sounds like a good time, doesn't it?). It ended up being 17 pages long, after I cut out some sections. Yeah, it was a beast and not what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be reading Eclipse, the third book in the Twighlight series, with Mark and playing with my cute three month old. But, Mark didn't think that was the responsible thing to do. Thank goodness for my responsible husband. I finished the paper at 10:30pm Thursday evening after having worked on it all week and all that day (and I do mean ALL). It still wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but it was done and I didn't care.

On Friday, Mark and I had planned 24 hours away. This included taking Gabriel to Mark's mom's house, going to a hotel, and spending 24 hours alone together. I know, you are all shocked that Mark was able to talk me into doing this so quickly, but I am really glad we did. Things didn't really go as planned. Mark had also had a really crappy week at work, and he didn't get home that night until 8:15pm. He was in an awful mood from what had happened at work that day and was really tired. I had decided that I wasn't going to be upset about it being so late, or even if we didn't go at all (and not because I didn't really want to go). We went back and forth about whether or not we should go, but Mark decided that we should. So, we quickly finished packing and were off. We didn't eat dinner until 10:30pm that night and we didn't get to see a movie as we had planned, but we had a great time. We went shopping the next day, we talked a ton, and we just enjoyed being together. We were both so glad we decided to go and make our relationship a priority.

Don't get me wrong, we both really missed Gabriel. He is an amazing blessing to us, and we are grateful for him every day of our lives. But, as Mark put it, one day all of our kids will be gone and we still want to know each other when it is just the two of us. Gabriel had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house (or at least Grandma and Grandpa had a great time with him). I did think it was cute that Mark was the first one to suggest that we should call his mom to make sure everything was going okay. He loves his son :).

I'm posting some of the family pictures that were taken a few weeks ago. I think they turned out really great! As predicted, Gabriel's stent of sleeping through the night did not last long. He did that for about a week or so, and then said, "okay, I'm done with that" and started getting up around 3am again. We're working back up to 7 or more hours at a time, but it is hit or miss at this point. Wish us luck.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did you get up? No, did you?

For the last week Mark and I have been given a wonderful gift.... the gift of sleep. Gabriel has been sleeping between 7-10 hours in a single chunk! He was falling asleep around 7:30 or 8pm and then getting up around 3am to eat. Suddenly, he decided he wanted to be awake until 10pm, which I wasn't happy about. But, when he slept until 5am I decided I could handle his being up until 10 thing. It is amazing how precious an uninterupted nights sleep becomes when you go without for so long. I didn't really think I was capable of functioning on so little sleep, but it is suprising what you can do when there isn't any other choice. I fully expect that this pattern of sleeping through the night will not hold indefinately, but while it does last, we'll take full advantage.

We're getting ready to go trick-or-treating tomorrow! I can't wait to put Gabriel's costume on him. We've carved pumkins and decorated the house. We'll be sure to post lots of pictures. Now, if I can just finish this paper that is due tomorrow :).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yum, applesauce.

A few weeks ago we went to a local farm with our next door neighbors, and picked apples. We had a blast. We picked twenty pounds each of golden delicious and jonathan apples. Some of the apples were as big as Gabriel's head. The next week Stacie, my neighbor, came over and my mom coached us in making and canning applesauce and apple pie filling. It was so much fun and everything turned out wonderfuly. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a sauce maker in order to make the apples into yummy mush. I ended up going to the other side of Columbus to buy it the morning we did the canning, due to my procrastination. Even with this, everything turned out great. I'm especially excited that we will be able to feed the applesauce to Gabriel when he gets a little bit older. I'll also be able to use the sauce maker to mush up other foods for him, like carrots, peas, yams, and other great fresh foods.

Mark took Gabriel for his two month check up two weeks ago. He weighed 13 pound 4 1/2 ounces, and was 22 inches long. This put him in the 90th percentile for weight and 25th percentile for height. Mark's sister, Becky, said "aw, he's his daddy's son". Mark didn't think she was very funny.

My family also had family pictures taken by a family friend a couple weeks ago. Here are a few of the pictures taken with our camera. I'll post more when we get a copy of the "professional" ones. I loved the fall feel of the pictures and the use of a local park where the trees were changing color. Thanks to my older sister, Elaine for her planning and creativity. She always comes up with great ideas for things like this.

I'm almost half way through fall quarter. I just can't wait to be done with this quarter. This is the busiest quarter I've had so far, and it's all the more difficult because I just want to spend all my time with Gabriel and Mark. I fell like I will be able to get through the rest of the program if I can just survive this quarter.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Things we don't want to do, and doing them anyway.

I started back to school on Friday, September 26th. I have three more quarters until I graduate with my masters in Social Work. The first two years of my program were not easy, but not too hard either. Going back for this final nine months has been the hardest part of the whole experience. More precisely, leaving Gabriel with my sister-in-law all day long was the hardest thing I have had to do. This is not because I'm worried about the care he is getting at her house or anything like that. In fact, I think he is enjoying being at her house, because he gets a lot of attention from her three boys. I just don't want to be away from him.

The first day I left him, I called Mark and cried. He told me he understood and that it was going to be alright. I replied I knew that, but it didn't really make it any easier. The next time I had to leave him, Monday, it wasn't quite as hard. I think mainly because I was nervous about starting my internship. Tuesday, however, was even harder than either of the first two. I bawled as I got in my car and drove to my internship. I told Mark that evening, "I don't want to do this anymore". He said he wouldn't force me to finish, but he thought it was what was best for all of us. I know he is right, but again, it doesn't make it any easier.

On a happier note, he started to smile at us (on purpose) two weeks ago. It is the cutest thing in the entire world, and the most rewarding. I haven't been able to catch it on film yet, so I don't have a picture to post. He is also talking to us a ton. He is such a social baby. He loves to have someone talk to him and to talk back. He would love it if I would sit and talk to him for hours. A lot of the time I'm tempted. Some times I do. I don't ever regret it. He's getting so big! Mark is taking him for his two month check up this Friday. He will get his first immunizations. I'm a little sad and a little glad that I won't be there. I am really interested to see how much he's grown though.

These pictures were taken about three weeks apart. The one on the left was taken first. Maybe they don't look that different to you, but I see a big difference. He is really filling out, and gaining more control of his neck and arms.

We are also getting excited about Halloween. We bought him a pumkin costume, and I can't wait to take pictures. I was a pumkin for my first Halloween, so it's kind of a tradition. I know, he's only going to be three months old. But, I loved trick or treating when I was a kid. Mark was a little traumatized, which is another story, and I want Gabriel to enjoy it as much as I did. Plus, we're going with Becky and the boys, so it won't just be me carrying around a three month old. I can't wait!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It is amazing how quickly your priorities can change. Some things that took up your thoughts during the day can suddenly become completely nonexistent. Like a tv show or how dirty the basement may be. Other things intensify in importance, like how much income we have or what time we get home at night. Then there are things that were never important before, but become the most important goal of your whole day. This is what getting a burp out of my son has become. More accurately two burps after each 1 1/2 to 2 oz of formula. Why two burps you ask. I'm not really sure why, but Gabriel seems to be a two burp kind of baby. One just doesn't get the job done.

But, I digress. Mark made the comment the other day that Gabriel should enjoy being encouraged to burp while he still could. I started to think about how I might look back some day and think how silly or trivial it is that I am concerned so much about whether or not Gabriel burps. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that right now it's not trivial; it's me being a mom. I'm sure there are bigger worries ahead, and I may even look back at these days as easy, but I am so grateful that I am able to start worrying about him at this stage. I feel like I'm lucky that I get to worry about whether or not he burps, eats enough, poops enough, or has animal hair on his face. I can already see him changing every single day, and I just want to enjoy every part of his life with us as much as I can.

He's already started to smile at us. I know that they say it's not voluntary at this point, but who cares? When he looks up at me when I talk to him and he gets this wonderful grin on his face, it makes me get so excited. I feel a little bad for Mark that he has to work, when I get so much time during the day with Gabe. I can see the excitement on Mark's face when he comes home and sees the two of us. I know how important his family is to him.

Another little triumph was giving Gabriel his first bath two days ago. He doesn't really like to be naked, so I wasn't sure how he would react, but it went well. By the end he was definitely ready to be done, but he didn't pee in the water, we didn't drop him, and he smelled great, so I felt like it was a success. Here are a few pics from bath time. Mark did a great job of capturing the moment, without capturing the privates :).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We'll never be the same

Our lives changed forever on Friday August 8th, 2008. A beautiful baby boy was born at 8:44am. An hour later he was in our arms and we knew we would love him forever. Gabriel Conner Lucas weighed 7 lb 12 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He has wonderful black hair and baby gray/blue eyes. We brought him home on Monday August 11th, and have loved having him with us every moment. Yes, even in the middle of the night. We are so grateful to his birth family for their generosity and support that they showed us while he was still in the hospital. We are especially grateful to his birth mother, Andrea, who made the sacrifice of allowing us to bond with him in the hospital and giving us this amazing blessing. She will always have a special place in our hearts for the gift she has given us.

We have had so much love and support from our family and friends throughout this process. On Monday, when we brought him home, our parents came over to our house and met Gabe for the first time. It was so wonderful to see the people who taught us and love us most get to know our son. We love them so much for everything they have done to help bring us to this point in our lives. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us, fed us, and loved us. We are all so touched by your generosity and caring. Okay, enough mushy stuff. Enjoy the cute pictures.