Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Few Shopping Successes!

I haven't had a chance to finishing registering yet, but I have to say I am feeling so much better about the whole process. I can't thank all of you who have commented or emailed enough. What would I do without all you ladies! I am starting to think the Baby Bargains book is to shopping/registering what What to Expect When You're Expecting is to pregnancy, a book that just completely freaks you out! I am realizing that while they may have some good advice, they are also likely wrong on a lot of things, and a bit over the top about other things.

I did have a few shopping successes recently. For now, I am not going to do much more shopping until after my baby showers. I am just going to register and wait and see what we get as gifts. But now that I have made my first craigslist purchase, I know where I will be starting to look for what we need.

So here is my first craigslist deal:

A BOB Revolution!!!

I am so excited!

Last Saturday, my stepmom and I went to the Mothers of Multiples sale and found some great bargains.

I got this Graco Pack 'n' Play for $15:

And all of this for $71.50:


and more clothes

 84" gingham curtains from Pottery Barn



Little People fire truck and car carrier, fisher price dump truck, and 
vtech school bus (that plays "the wheels on the bus go round and round")

And from Me-me (Grandma Karen - my stepmom) for $20:

Don't you just love a good bargain!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You mean you don't have to bring your husband?!?!

Kidding, just kidding. I love my husband and I love doing things with him, just not shopping. We approach shopping in completely different ways (as I am sure most men and women do). I want to research and examine all my options, he tends to just grab the first thing he sees. I saw registering as this major milestone on our path to parenthood and reality didn't quite match the vision in my head. Then of course, I started wondering if this was another thing infertility took from me, so it was helpful to find out that registering is stressful for almost everyone, even those who haven't faced infertility. Admittedly, there was a twinge of grief as I thought about the fact the John and I didn't just get married, get pregnant, and then waddle walk into Babies 'r' us with a big round belly, full of innocence and joy over our impending arrival. But truthfully, it didn't amount to much more than a passing thought. And I also realized that even if pregnancy came easy (or at least relatively so), it doesn't mean there is this idyllic scene of husband and wife lovingly choosing items for their baby (for example, a husband who can't be there because he is deployed).

But mostly, it was just helpful to know that I am not alone in finding the whole process stressful. I thought I had done so much research on the items we needed, or at least the big items. That is why the bottles and sippy cups did me in, I figured I didn't need to research them since they were such small items. How hard could it be to pick a bottle? Then many of the items I knew I wanted, like an Ergo, Target and Babies 'r' us didn't have available in the store. Since so many products are only available online, I am not sure if it is even worth going back to the store. If  I do, I will be taking your suggestions that I bring a friend, or at least call one.

Okay, so I still have to decide on a crib and a glider rocker. I checked Amazon, but it doesn't seem like they have as many reviews on the big items. The Baby Bargains book recommends a Graco Lauren, and it is fine, but when I saw it in the store, I wasn't in love with it. For a little more money, the book recommends Baby Cache. I really do like this crib, but I was hoping for something a little less price-wise. I would say this crib is more my style, but I am not sure about white for a boy. I also like this one. In general, I am not a fan of the high back (the part that becomes the headboard) on convertible cribs, which may be part of why I am having such a hard time deciding since that is how most cribs are designed right now. I did find two cribs in this style I like, this one and this one. Anyone have any experience or opinions about these cribs?

The Shermag gliders at Target are rated fairly well, so I think I will go with one of these once I choose a crib. We have a dresser (painted yellow) that used to be in our room that we will use for Joshua.

As Amy mentioned, we should get Joshua's bottles from his foster mother, but I have heard it is not a guarantee so I want to have a few on hand. What are your bottle and sippy cup recommendations? I selected just a basic bottle from Evenflow - I think they came 3 in a pack and were different colors. I have heard the insulated Playtex sippy cups are good. Also, how many of those little tupperware type bowls for snacks do I need? What about those ones that have an opening so that you can reach in, but the snacks don't fall out (snack traps)? Also, are there levels when it comes to forks and spoons? I thought I saw something about that on some of the packaging in the store.

As far as safety items, I am considering the The First Years Hands-Free gate. For a monitor, I am considering the Philips Avent DECT sound monitor because supposedly they have less issues with interference and you don't have to worry about the neighbors hearing your conversations. Is an outlet cover an outlet cover and a cabinet lock a cabinet lock? Are there any that are better than others (i.e. less annoying for the parents, but still effective at keeping baby safe)?

Thank you so much for all your support and feedback!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Attempt at Registering

Registering didn't go so well yesterday. I pretty much had a breakdown in the bottle aisle at Target trying to decide which items to register for. I know this isn't a make or break decision. But my perfectionism sure got the best of me yesterday. I felt like I should know what type of bottle, sippy cup, and feeding utensils to select and that somehow not knowing meant I was a failure as a mother.

Target is also frustrating because they have so little inventory on their shelves. They have a ton of cribs online, but only a few in the store and absolutely no chairs to try out.

It wasn't all bad though. The best part was seeing John get so excited in the toy aisles.

After Target, we went to Babies 'r' us and it didn't get much better. I really wanted this to be a fun experience for us, but I felt like a total fraud. I couldn't decide on much of anything. I haven't been able to choose a crib or a rocker. I am so afraid of choosing wrongly. I kept thinking that people would look at our registry and think we are idiots - "some adoption agency decided they were fit to be parents?!?!"

By the end of the day I was in tears. I wish I could just select what I like and not worry about it.

Thankfully, I can add and delete things online without having to set foot in the store again.

Of course, that means I also have to actually make a decision! LOL

And no, we didn't select either of these items. Baby steps....tomorrow is another day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My To-Do List

I have a ton of plans for how I want to use this time between now and Joshua's arrival now that I am not working.

First order of business was to join a gym. I don't know if it was related to my miscarriage, and/or the accompanying grief, or my sedentary job, but I have gained about 11 pounds over the last 2 years. I found a great gym with classes I really like very close to my house. I managed to go 4 out of the five days last week, and did a video workout at home on the fifth day. I took the weekend off to let my aching muscles recover a bit, but was back at it today. I am feeling better already!

Adoption-related to-do items:
1) Home study update paperwork - done! We received notarized copies on my last day of work (so technically not on my "no longer working to-do list").
2) Care package #2 - sent off last week
3) Research nursery items and baby gear - ongoing
4) Register - John and I are going tomorrow
5) Buy items not received as gifts
6) Read a few parenting books, I have read lots of adoptive parenting books, but not general parenting books- I have read one (but that was before I stopped working)
7) Practice (re-learn) Korean language
8) Investigate travel to Korea
9) Buy gifts for Joshua's foster family, social worker in Korea, and Eastern staff

Items 5-9 may not be done until after the move.

Home/nesting projects:
1) Organize and get up to date on all our pictures - I have 2 empty scrapbooks made by my sister that just need to have the pictures inserted, a beautiful Army scrapbook that I want to make pages for to document my 6 years in the Army, and boxes (and boxes) of pictures to scan and put in albums
2) Organize recipes - every recipe I have ever received from someone or printed off the internet is in a cabinet above our stove, and it is a mess! Ideally, I would love to combine this project with menu planning, like maybe plan a month's worth of meals and then just rotate through every month. It seems like it would be one less thing to think about once Joshua is home.
3) Add my CD's to our itunes library
4) Clean out file drawers, and file the piles (or throw away!)
5) Clean out all closets and the basement
6) Frame artwork - I have several items I have been given or have purchased recently that are not framed. I try to frame my artwork (and I use the term loosely) by finding frames at thrift stores or yard sales (I found 4 frames for $10 at a thrift store last week, so this is part of the way done).

I can definitely see how fast this time is going to go by; it doesn't seem like I got anywhere near as much done as I wanted to last week. After going to the gym each morning (9:30 am class), I feel like I get a late start to my day. But I know I have to make working out a priority right now. After cleaning my house, putting the care package together, spending an afternoon with a friend who is moving to India for a year, dentist appointment, hair appointment (and a stop at the thrift store next door), researching nursery baby items, searching craigslist, dinner with a friend, and catching up with my hubby, that was pretty much my week last week. 

My craigslist searching did pan out I am happy to say - I will post my find in an upcoming post. This past weekend my stepmom was in town. On Saturday we went to the Columbia, MD Mothers of Multiples sale, where I also found some great deals (will also post them soon).

Since John is on spring break this week and I have a going away party for my friend who is going to India to help with, my only goal is to get registered before I leave for Turkey. Then when I get back, I want to tackle the picture and recipe fiasco. Then I'll move on to our files and closets, which will be good preparation for the move.

In the midst of all this, we will be moving (the military will pack us, but there is still preparation that we have to do), house and church hunting, and unpacking and setting up the new house, so this will also keep me busy. I can't wait to finally set up Joshua's room!

So this is the plan....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Care Package #2

I sent off Joshua's second care package yesterday to our agency's Minnesota office. Hopefully, it will be on its way to Korea very soon in time for his 1st birthday. Technically, this is the last care package we are allowed to send, but we will see ;-)

This is what we sent:

star on which we recorded us singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (he going to be tone deaf!), socks, shoes, 2 outfits, Aveeno lotion, toy turtle that shakes and moves when you pull the tail, frog "lovely" (I bought a second one to have here in case he gets attached to it), and a 1st birthday card

I managed to fit everything in the one gallon sized Ziploc except the stackable cups - maybe next time ;-)

Here is the birthday card - my friend Cindy translated it for me along with a letter to Joshua's foster mother.

It was so much fun putting this together! I am praying it reaches him by his birthday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reflections on My Last Day of Work

Friday was my last day at my job. I can't help but look back and be amazed at how far the Lord has brought me. When I first started the job, I was still reeling from the devastation of my miscarriage and the final BFN that spelled the end of the road for us as far as infertility treatment. We had just arrived back in the DC area and knew I would need to work if we were going to be able to afford to adopt. However, in the state I was in emotionally, I knew I couldn't handle a long and difficult job search. I literally begged God for mercy. He answered me beyond any of my expectations. I had a job before I even started searching less than a month after our arrival in DC. It wasn't a job I loved, but it was the right job for me at the time.

At first, I was unable to even talk to my co-workers. I was in such a broken state I was unable to interact with any them. I just knew that if I was asked the dreaded question, "Do you have kids?" I would completely breakdown. And so I completely avoided talking to almost all of my co-workers for most of my first year on the job.

Except for one person. In the midst of my brokenness, the Lord brought a very special friend into my life. We were two broken people, and in our weakness, the Lord worked and enabled us to encourage and pray for one another. There were so many days where I didn't think I would make it, and the Lord would give her a Word to speak to me that gave me the strength to press on. And there were days where the Lord redeemed so many of the hurts in my life and the things He has brought me through by enabling me to give counsel to her. Only the Lord could do this.

Then there were days when I would walk in to work begging God for my time there to be short. My heart longed to be a mom and stay home with my children. Daily I would ask Him for His grace, strength, and help. But I am so grateful for those precious times with my Lord, for it was one of those days of crying out to the Lord on my way in to work when I finally made a decision to believe God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do.

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." Psalm 113:9

However, I never believed that meant pregnancy. It was about a year after starting my job, that I made the decision to let go of the desire for pregnancy. And almost immediately the Lord began the healing process.

Soon I found myself getting to know my co-workers, becoming part of the lunch group that ate together (and laughed together) every day.

I wasn't afraid of their questions anymore. I even was able to share our happy news about Joshua with them not long after we got the referral.

And on Friday in front of the entire office, I was completely comfortable when I was given a picture of him my friend had framed and had everyone sign with well wishes and words of congratulations. I couldn't help but think about how much the Lord had healed me. I was able to be joyful, open, and vulnerable again.

There were so many days when I didn't think I could go on, but the Lord, who is faithful, brought me through to the end. "Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Few Bright Spots

Thanks for the prayers and encouraging words after my last post. It feels good to know that what I am feeling is normal. I am feeling a little better, helped along by the following:

1. My flight is booked - I am going to visit my friend Wendi in Turkey! (don't freak out mom)
2. A date has been set for my second shower - April 23rd in central Florida (it is too difficult and expensive for all of my family to come to me in MD, so I am going to them)
3. A date has been set for my third (and final) shower - April 30th, hosted by my friends in MD
4. My last day of work is Friday!!!

Having all of this to look forward to is definitely helping.

I realized that what I have been feeling is more than missing Joshua and frustration about the lack of updates/information. It is also apprehension about leaving work and moving. So much change is coming up. And it is also about feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of finally becoming a mother. It is hard for me to even write that, but it is true. I have waited so long for my dream of becoming a mom to come about and now that it is finally almost here, I am scared to death. I feel totally inadequate and unprepared. I am bothered by how much I don't know, about being a mom, and about the little boy I will become a mom to.

Last Saturday, we hit the 5 month mark on our wait.

6 more months to go! (roughly)

In 6 months, I am going to feel more ready. Right????

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Rough Spot

I have hit a bit of a rough spot over this past week regarding our adoption wait. I have been completely unmotivated to do much of anything. Emotionally, I have been at a low point and there have been days where I just felt like crawling in bed and crying. I have several posts in my drafts, but haven't felt motivated to write anything. I wish I could explain why I feel this way. I feel like my emotions fluctuate based on the receiving of information. After we got an update and then new pictures, I was on an emotional high. I could barely contain my excitement. I felt so hopeful and the wait didn't seem so bad. But as time has passed from our last bit of news, there has been a steady descent in my emotional state. It all begins to feel so far off again and I feel as if I will never be holding our son. Ultimately, I think what I am feeling is that Joshua doesn't feel as "real." I am longing for a connection with him and right now the only way I am able to feel that connection is through updates and pictures.

How I wish Eastern and our agency, though it is probably mostly in Eastern's control, could establish a regular schedule for giving updates on our children. It would be so much better if I knew I was going to get an update every 3 months. Then I wouldn't have to wait and hope to receive one every month. I would know when to expect them. This is the number one thing I would tell our adoption agency if given the chance to let them know how they could help the wait. Number two, would be allowing us to send more care packages. Our agency only allows us to send two packages over the course of our 11 month wait. Other agencies allow families to send one every month. I have heard that the foster moms judge how much a family loves a child based on the number of care packages they send. And unfortunately, I don't think they are aware what agency we are with and our particular agency's rules. This absolutely kills me to think that Joshua's foster mother would think we don't love him.

Speaking of care packages, I am getting ready to send Joshua his second one, which I am trying to time for his birthday in April. Hopefully, this will provide a bit of a pick-me-up for a while.

But ultimately, I know where my true pick-me-up comes from.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5