Friday, January 28, 2011

A Miles Update

So there is this little tiny boy living in our home. And, he smells so fresh and is so soft and wonderful. It feels like he has always been here. His ways are familiar, and somehow, our ways and our routine is completely familiar to him as well. It's our sweet Miles.

Miles is now 10 1/2 weeks old. He is doing fantastic and growing very rapidly. His clavicle injury is completely healed, has been since he was 5 or 6 weeks, and you would never know he ever suffered at all. For a while he seemed to favor his left arm, keeping his right still and low, but that has changed, and his right arm is reaching for toys and flapping in the air just as easy and often as the left now. Gosh, it almost seems as if Someone made babies so even their bones could break to be born, and yet they would heal swiftly and completely...

Miles is BIG. Our biggest, fasted growing baby. Last week at his 2 month check-up he weighed in at 15 1/2 pounds! That is in the 99% range! He is so healthy and pink and chubby. This week he has officially grown out of 3 month clothing, and is now comfortably fitting into 6 month sizes. He eats wonderfully (which is obvious!), and also digests great. No fussy, gassy nights for this baby. It's all just too easy.

Miles is a social little guy. He smiled by three weeks, and even before that, he just looked at us so intently. One of the comments we receive again and again is about how alert he is. He chatters and gasps with delight. His favorite "word" to say is "a-goo!", and he will repeat it over and over again as he looks at you, certain that his idea is coming across crystal clear. He is eager to connect with people, and just the sweetest little thing.

He sleeps very well. Miles goes to sleep with-out too much fuss, and will sleep for hours before waking again. For nap time he will sleep up to 4 hours at a time in the afternoon, preferring shorter cat-naps in the morning and evening. At night he will typically sleep 4 or 5 hours for the first stretch, then 2 or 3 hours the rest of the night. This is SO wonderful! Charlie and Calvin were not good sleepers. I must have read every book there is on infant and toddler sleep between those two, and nothing we tried worked other than time and maturity, and for Charlie, treating his reflux. Miles just doesn't have any hang-ups about sleep. He's simply willing to do it if that is what it is time for. I am very thankful for this little gift of Miles' babyhood. We are so busy, and I am so tired, I can't imagine what it would be like if I had another anti-sleep personality on my hands.

Well, that's what Miles' is up to. He has just fallen right into step in our family. It is likely part his personality and part our feeling more experienced and confident doing this baby thing the third time around. We are having so much fun, and feeling the craziness of three very young children all at once (we have three in diapers!).

The "big" kids are doing great, too. They love to dote on the baby. Calvin is keen on knowing just what Miles is doing at any given moment, and always wants to be able to "see the baby's eyes." I think Calvin and Miles are similar in many respects, and it will be fun to see how they are different, too. Miles looks so much like Calvin did. He is social and chatty like Calvin was. And yet, he also seems more mellow and go-with-the-flow than Calvin, who is not content unless his every question is soundly answered, or his every idea justly enacted. As a baby I believe this made Calvin more fussy. He had certain ideas and desires, and was not content with things being "good enough." Miles is the kind of guy who is fine with whatever as long as things aren't going badly. (And, may I add, I don't believe one personality is preferable over the other, though one might be 'easier' for a parent in the early years. I love Calvin's curiousness, his intensity, and industriousness.)

Charlie is just so tender and confident as a big brother. He continually asks, "I hold it?" Which means he wants to hold Miles, and he is a wonderful baby holder. For those who have been fortunate enough to have Charlie sit on their lap for a melt-into-your-body kind of cuddle, well, it seems he is fixing to be equally as comfortable to sit upon. Miles relaxes into Charlie's strong little arms, and Charlie does so well at holding him securely.

Well, a Miles update was promised, and a Miles update you have been given! He is doing so well, and we are delighted to have him as our son. What a special gift he is, indeed that all of our boys are, that we should have the good grace of raising them. We learn as we go in our house, and we pray (and you can pray for us, too, if you would!) that we parent in a way that God would have us lead and guide his boys, Charlie, Calvin, and Miles.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down Syndrome Adoption

Wasn't really sure what to name this post. The title is a generic way to label something I feel so passionate about. I never thought about adoption much before Charlie was born, well, not beyond "I think that would be cool to do some day."

Two months after Charlie was born we learned he had Down Syndrome. When I think of specific events I can name that were life changing for me, that day ranks right up there is marrying Raymond, and the birth of each of our children. That day, at Charlie's 2 month check up, the doctor shared his suspicion that our boy had Down Syndrome. I can't remember exactly what day it was, March 13th 2006, I think, but it forever changed our lives.

In attempt to keep this whole long story brief ('cause, I'll be honest, it's nap time, and I don't think I have much longer before the boys are up), that day was the beginning of our Down Syndrome journey, which included an introduction to the world of special needs adoption, and learning of the plight of orphans who have Down Syndrome--children who are orphaned *because* they are born with Down Syndrome--in many counties in our world.

I came across a post by a blogging friend today that really touched my heart, and fueled my passion for these very special children. Please check it out here (and oggle her other posts about her two children who have Down Syndrome--her amazing daughter Angela, and their new son Axel, who they recently adopted from Easter Europe):
Garden of Eagen

Also, check out this Down Syndrome Adoption Ministry that Ray and I support:
Reece's Rainbow

Monday, January 17, 2011

A drive in the van.

A drive in the van with my 3 Amigos goes a little something like this:

In the back left is Calvin playing 200 questions.

Miles is in the middle row, answering the best he can with coos and squeals.

On the dash is a woman's voice telling me what to do,

and in case I missed it is Charlie in the back right repeating everything she says,... "Turn right in 50 yards!"

Oh, and I'm the one driving with the silly grin on my face.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Charlie is 5!

So I've been working on a slide show for Charlie's little 5th birthday party tonight (our family tradition). He's Five. Five! I can hardly believe my little tiny cupid baby is 5 years old today.

Oh Charlie. Life with you is sweet and puzzling and so full. I live for the moments that you come over to me, and shout "Kimma!" and throw your pudgy little arms around my neck. You have learned so many things in the last year. You can talk in sentences. You can tell jokes of your own invention. You imagination is vast, and your games are so inventive. You can ask for what you want. You can tell us how you feel.

Of course there are still challenges, Charlie. Things we need to work on. Like how 'bout starting to learn to use the potty in earnest this year? You can do it! I know that you can. You are clever boy. And how about let's work on helping you to put on your own clothes, okay? But you have to promise you will keep them on if I teach you to take the off.

Charlie, there are times after we've had a rough day together, and I just could not figure out what was bothering you, and your frustrations are running our home that I begin to wonder if I am doing a good job of mothering you. I feel so distant from your world sometimes. But I want you to know, I love you so much. I want to work on "getting" you better this year... But I'm still not going to let you get away with playing with what you shouldn't or only eating what you really want, just to be clear.

Ah, Buddy. What a Year! Happy Birthday, my big boy. You are so precious to me.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas, Baby, Big Brothers: An Update on it All

So, it's been pretty busy, and if I've had time on the internet, it hasn't really been hands free time so I could type. But here I am, we're back to our school routine with Charlie, and Calvin and Miles are both fast asleep for nap time. Time to update the blog!

Christmas was amazing. I think one of my favorite yet as a parent. Charlie and Calvin really soaked up the reason for Christmas. We had seen a bit of a Christmas show about Santa Clause on TV, and Calvin asked Raymond where Jesus was. Ray explained that some people believe that Christmas is all about presents and that Santa is a character they believe brings the presents, and Jesus is forgotten. Calvin's reply? "That's Silly!" None-the-less we did enjoy giving gifts to one another this year, in joyful recognition of the King who came to rescue us all. Because we are so overjoyed, we give to you these gifts. A true celebration.

And of course, this year we have Miles. Another reason to be filled to the brim with happiness and contentment over our blessed little family life. He is doing so wonderfully. He is a BIG boy with the spirit of a tiny one. Such a little sweetie. He is seven weeks old today. It feels as if he has been with us always, seamlessly slipping in to our family life and routine. He never did have night and day confused, and has been our best sleeper yet, our least picky, our easiest by far. Maybe this is because we feel a confidence as parents at this point, maybe this is because he has been experiencing the ruckus that is our family life since the very first moment he became aware of his senses while still in the womb. I don't know. But life with Miles is a gem. It really is. I love this.

Charlie has adjusted to the change as if no change ever took place. He just kind of let Miles come into his life as if it were a comfortable and familiar sort of change. I guess he has 'been there done that' already as the oldest brother. He gets a little overwhelmed if Miles cries, and will promptly let us know he is crying and we need to pick him up. Yesterday as Charlie was leaving for school he made his rounds of hugs and kisses, and stopped over at Miles swing and gave him a kiss and said "Bye Sweetie!" Ah...

Calvin has found this adjustment challenging. First off he was dealing with illness on his own part, which was tough for him. It was tough for him to have his mommy in need of her own space and recovery. There have been lots of little bumps that made the transition to older-brotherhood more difficult. I can remember the first few days it was just me at home with the kids, Calvin really had a rough go. He was quite put-off by our newest little fellow. There were many fits and passive aggressive gestures. Thank goodness for the distraction of the holidays and family. He has since come to understand that we have a new normal in our house, and has made his adjustments. He is back to being my curious, happy little boy. It made me sad to see him struggle so. To be honest, he is a fantastic big brother, wanting to include Miles in his antics (as much as a 7 week old can), and looks after him. He lets me know just what baby Miles is doing at any given moment. What a good brother.

I am doing great. I feel very well. I feel like I am ready to get out jogging again, but am wondering how that will happen. I haven't even had time to work out using the Wii. There are so many things on the to do list that sort of languish day to day (sure I feel awesome, but I am TIRED!!). The dishes, the laundry. It all kind of gets done in little opportune spurts. We've decided to be gentle on ourselves about the state of our house, and settle for a state of "good enough" by the time we make it to bed most nights. Similarly we are eating real simple these days. Last night was organic tomato soup from a box, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a salad with some strange ingredients. I expect we'll find a way to get the house side of things going a bit more smoothly once our baby is a little bit less dependent. It goes by so fast.

Anyway, that is us. We've had some serious trials trying to work things out as we ALL find our how we fit into our new family dynamic, but mostly, this is joy-filled. A blessing. I look forward to this new year with a lot of excitement. My heart is full.
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