Sunday, August 23, 2015

ordinary life, hurricane dreams

Well, well, well. Long time no chat. I have no exciting excuses, so we'll just move straight into the cute baby pictures and completely thrilling weekend updates, okay? 

I heard rompers were in style this fall? I approve.
 On Saturday we spent the day- wait for it- overhauling our garage!! We took everything out!! We cleaned! We vacuumed!! We organized!! We trashed and recycled and donated a crap-ton of stuff! We put it all back in, but more neatly!!

You are probably rightfully devastated that I don't have any before and after pictures. Seriously. It's basically HGTV-worthy, although we didn't really go crazy and do stuff like paint the floors or color coordinate bins and labels. Just a normal amount of awesome organization. Ooh and we mounted thingies to hold the bikes up on the walls, thus freeing up floor space for all of Millie's large outdoor toys and paraphernalia! Most importantly, we a) moved all toxic chemical products (fertilizers, insecticides, paint) up to high shelves, and b) we did not see any evidence of mama snakes or any other creepy creatures.  

Annnnd that's about all I have to say about my garage. You'll just have to take my word for it. It was pretty exciting. And insanely hot and sweaty and dirty and gross.

It was tiring, too. As tiring as this trip to Target.
When we're not busy doing mega-glamorous projects in the garage, we keep busy terrorizing playing with our animals.
Lola, I will read you this story about some ladybugs. THEY ALL FLY AWAY.

Aidan. Stop staring. Like you've never seen a topless lady in your yard before. Sheesh.

No, Mommy, I will not pose nicely in my adorable outfit for you. I MUST PET MY LOLA!!!!
In other news, did you hear that the next hurricane will be named Erika? It's like a dream come true. My hurricane will probably be forming in the next week or so, so I'll be watching with bated breath to see how I turn out. I'm pulling for something initially scary and intimidating that gets folks out of school and work, but then turning sharply out to sea and weakening before hitting any land, thereby avoiding any actual destruction. That way people will all be like thanks for the free day off, Erika! Wooo! and it will be really fun. These are the kinds of things I daydream about now, so yeah. It's pretty exciting to be me. (Also, please note that if Hurricane Erika ends up being remotely terrible, I will come back and delete all of this and act horrified at the idea of ever wanting to identify with a natural disaster. What kinda psycho would think that, anyway?) I said at the beginning, nothing much exciting is going on. Just normal, happy life. It's enough.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

things that are awesome

In no particular order, a few things/discoveries/people that have been particularly awesome this last week.

I know, you thought I would pick something to do with Millie first, didn'tcha? I'm going for the element of surprise here. TACOS! SURPRISE!

Anyway, no joke, these tacos are unbelievable. It's basically the lime crema that puts them over the top, so don't think you're going to get lazy and just use plain old sour cream. Go the extra step. Your taste buds will do an exuberant dance of thanks. Bonus points for the recipe being easy, fast, cheap, and reasonably healthy. Please don't ask how many times we've made them in the last two weeks. My capacity to eat and love Mexican food is endless and borderline embarrassing. 

2. The Gilmore Guys podcast. I heard about this a few months ago and forgot about it until yesterday. BUT NOW I AM OBSESSED. Forget Serial- a podcast featuring two really funny dudes thoroughly dissecting every single episode of my favorite show (with awesome guests, including some cast members!!!!, on most episodes) is what's up. Trust me on this one. If you're a fan of the show, you should check out this podcast. And if you're not a fan of the show, I don't even know if we can be friends. (Just kidding. One of my best friends has always hated the show and mocked me for liking it (as in, since we were watching the show live a decade ago) and I'm still friends with her. But I pray for her mortal soul...)

3. Okay, fine. MILLIE.

She's always awesome, but watching her open presents on her birthday (no party, just her favorite food, cupcakes, and presents with us and her grandparents) was extra awesome. She really started to get the whole opening presents thing. And then she got super excited about each new toy. And it was good. Very, very good.

Oh hey, what's in this cool bag?
INSTRUMENTS!!! I'm going to start a band! 
She got lots of fun new toys, but we've all had the most fun with her new outside toys. She basically has a heart attack every time she sees them in the garage. Her pointing and squealing and frantic reaching towards her car is quite possibly the cutest thing ever (and a real bummer when we're in a rush to get in the (real) car to go somewhere).

This toy has been a win for me, too, because now we go on even MORE walks than normal, so I'm getting my daily steps in without nearly as much struggling!

4. Fall.

I mean, I know it isn't fall yet. But Millie already has her Basic White Girl uniform ready to go, so I'm getting pretty pumped.

I heard blankie scarves are going to be in again this season.
She loves carrying her blankies around everywhere, but they drag on the ground and trip her. It doesn't bother her, but it kinda grosses me out when we're at, say, the doctor's office (as pictured). So today Matt just looped and wrapped it all around her (basically exactly like I do with my blanket scarf in the winter, ha) and it cracked me up. But it was effective!! No tripping and she was perfectly happy. So there ya have it. Blanket scarves for one-year-olds. You saw it first here, folks.

But in all seriousness, fall does sound great right about now. Mainly because I just bought Millie a new chambray shirt tonight...

And that's all we have time for. Four awesome things. My podcast is calling, so goodnight!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

twelve months!

Well, the day has finally come. Our twelve month update. This little nugget is an entire year old (and a few days, but who's counting?).

A whole YEAR, Mommy??! I am GROWN!!!!
That means this was our very last photo shoot with stickers and forcing her to pose on the precariously rocking chair. She will probably be sadder about that than I will.

It's like a rollercoaster!!!
 So grab a hanky, cause it's our last trip through these particular questions. Well, maybe I'll do it again at 18 months, just for fun. Or like, age 13 years and 2 months. Just because.

Aliases: Nothing's changed here. Millie, Mills, Millsie, Millsie Lou, Nuggie, Nugs, Snugs, Snuggles, Little Bit.

Stats: Since she just so happened to be sick on her birthday (how convenient!), we got a free weigh-in. 24 pounds and 4 ounces to close out year #1. She hasn't had her twelve-month checkup yet, so I'm not sure how tall she is, but she's still going strong in 12-month and 12-18 month clothes. Her disposable dipes are size 4. Now that she walks, she needs to wear shoes...she's about a size 3 in baby/toddler shoes, but since all of the "real" shoes seemed to rub/scratch her feet in various places, I ordered a few more pair of trusty moccasins and called it a day. They're her trademark, really.
I mean, my moccs are functional AND fashionable- what more could a girl want?
She closed out her first year with approximately 7.5 teeth. Four up top, three downstairs, and another bottom guy jussssst starting to poke through. She is every apple's worst nightmare. CHOMP!


  • Eating: She all but lost interest in her bottles during month twelve. We still offered them to her 4-5 times a day, but she drank maybe 12-15 ounces total per day. She got much more excited about drinking water out of her sippy cup this month, and she continued being an excellent Real Food eater. She eats three normal meals each day with us/with her classmates, plus two snacks. At school, she doesn't even use a high chair for her meals! She sits at a (tiny) table in her own chair and apparently stays there long enough to feed herself! She still does not use utensils, but she's amazingly adept at self-feeding. Now that her "weaning" is complete, I must give a huge final shout-out to Baby-led Weaning. It was the easiest, cheapest, and most fun ever, and our girl is a fantastic eater. And I never once had to buy or make baby food. WE ALL WIN.
  • Sleeping is about the same as it's been for the last few months. She goes to bed around 8:30 p.m. and wakes up between 6:30-7:30 a.m. She was transitioning to the one-year-old classroom at her school, and the nap situation there is totally different (and apparently WAY BETTER for her) than it is in the infant room, so I have to break her nap details into two parts. When she was still in the infant room, she napped whenever she felt like it, which usually meant 2-3 really short (15-30 minute) naps per day. In the one-year-old room, they all nap (on little cots!!) at once, and only once per day. Since she's moved there, she's napped for 2.25 hours per day, plus another short nap when we come home in the evening. I guess they really wear her out in there!
Likes: Playing with her "sister" Lola and giving her toys/blankets/books/food/anything.

LOLA!!! Here is your toy!! I will hit your face with it until you take it!!
She loves going outside, playing with anything (doesn't matter if it's actually a toy...used tissues from the trash can are totally fair game and SUPER FUN, evidently), reading stories, splashing in Lola's water bowl, swimming, cuddling with her blankies, drinking out of grown-up cups, eating, and playing with/watching other babies and kids.

I'm so tired I can't even sit up and pull everything off the shelf.
Dislikes: Well, anesthesia, for one. WORST THING EVER. The word "no" is also pretty terrible. 
A Nuggie's gotta do what a Nuggie's gotta do, Mom. Don't try to change me.
Diaper changes and nose wiping are of the devil. She doesn't even fall for the ol' "I'm gonna steal your boogies!!!" game. Having her hands and faced wiped after a meal is similarly terrible.

There's not much else that she doesn't like, but I gotta hand it to her- she takes her short list of dislikes and REALLY COMMITS. She knows how to bring the dramatics when she is faced with something she deems awful.

Well, obviously you should just keep doing the things I like. Then I'll never have to get upset. Silly day you'll learn!
 Special Skills: She took her first step the day after she turned eleven months old and was a full-time walker by about a week later. She didn't waste any time. She still wobbles and falls down a lot, but she hops right back up without missing a beat. Her new skills have led her to lots of bumps and bruises over the last month, as she crashes into (and gets into) pretty much everything...hence the fabulous little bruise next to her mouth that is evident in all of her pictures from the last week. Wah. Although she is perfectly capable of walking, she still prefers for Mama and Daddy to carry her around in public, which is fine by me. I have enough trouble keeping up with her in our 1300 square foot house. I don't want to imagine how it would go at Target.

She doesn't say any meaningful words yet (except possibly Mama and Dada), but she's gotten pretty good at pointing emphatically (and making sound effects that convey how urgent the need is) at what she wants. A few times I've felt like we're REALLY winning at mother/daughterhood because she will be crying and clearly needing something that I can't discern, and I've asked her to point at what she wants (and I demonstrate pointing at a few things)...and she will!! And then I can get it (it's usually something super important, like a random shoe on a shelf. Or a piece of junk mail on the counter.) and she looks amazed when I hand it to her and then she's happy again. COMMUNICATION!! It's brilliant!!

My mommy understands me! For my next trick, I will learn to talk to dolphins.
 A year has come and gone more quickly than I'd ever imagined. I couldn't be prouder of this sweet little thing, and motherhood is every bit as amazing as I'd dreamed it would be. The nugget-shaped hole in my heart has been filled and I simply lack the words to describe what a blessing this child has been.

Happy first birthday, Camilla. I have no idea if you will ever read this, but I hope that if you do, the love and gratitude I have for you will come as no surprise. I hope that my words and my actions speak even louder and more convincingly than these words on a screen ever will.

Your life has only just begun, and I consider myself the luckiest person on earth that I get to experience it as your mama. You are a gift, a treasure, a tangible expression of God's love and redemption. You are loved more than you will ever know.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

august 4, 2014

A year ago today was Millie's due date. August 4. The date my whole world had been revolving around for three months. I realize that three months is barely even a trimester- merely a third- of a typical woman's wait for their child...but in adoption, a trimester may as well be a billion years. At least for me. I got to cram nine months worth of anxiety and fear (and then some) into three tiny little months. And then...then the day came.

August 4. At long last.

I went to work. I blogged. I felt sick. I worked. I tried to ignore the date every time I wrote it or looked at a calendar. I felt sick. I tried to pretend it was just another day, not the day. I made a few hopefully-final notes for the temp that would cover my job during my maternity leave. I hoped he would need them soon. I kept my phone absolutely glued to my hand. I charged the battery every time it got below 80%. I carried it to the bathroom, to the water fountain, to the copy machine three feet away from my desk. I checked to make sure it was working, that I had service, that the volume was on. I willed it to ring.

August 4. Our due date. Her due date. Our due date.

It was J's first pregnancy, and a healthy and typical one at that, for which we were so thankful. So I knew that the odds of the baby actually coming on her due date were slim. She wasn't planning to be induced or anything. But still. It was August 4. I've never waited for a day like I waited for August 4, 2014.

The workday came and went and my phone was damnably silent, save for the four thousand texts from well-wishing friends and family members: Any news?? What's going on? Have you talked to J? Any sign of baby? Have you picked a name yet?

(Yes, her name had been picked for weeks. J had asked if we'd be willing to use Ann as her middle name before she ever even officially chose us; it's a family name with great meaning to her. So all we had to worry about selecting was her first name, which was harder than we'd expected. We had finally tentatively settled on Camilla, and when J asked one day if we'd chosen a name, we told her we were pretty sure we would name her Camilla. She told us that she loved it, that it was perfect, and that she felt like the baby really was Camilla. So we all started calling the baby Camilla that day. We just didn't tell anyone.)

We went to the gym after work. We did that most days back then (oh, the days of daily workouts...a faint memory now, ha), and it seemed as reasonable a plan as any. The phone stayed as glued to me during my workout as it had been the rest of the day, and I was constantly creating and recreating my game plan for what would happen if we got The Call while working out. Shower first, then rush to Atlanta? Skip the shower and get there sooner? Did I really want to meet my daughter in my sweaty gym clothes? So many choices that I ultimately did not need to make...the workout hour concluded with nary a call.

August 4 was drawing to a close and life was depressingly identical to any other Monday.

I don't remember as many details about the rest of the evening. I'm sure we ate and walked the dog and double-triple-quadruple checked our packed hospital bags. I can guarantee I did whatever I could to not think about the only thing I could think about. There would have been TV watching and internet surfing and the constant, unceasing praying of a mother waiting on another mother's phone call.

We went to bed on August 4, disappointed that the day had turned out to be so ordinary. I congratulated myself on not texting J all day with the same questions people had been annoying me with: any progress?? (We'd texted about other things, don't get me wrong...I'd just refrained from asking obvious questions. Ha.) I trusted that if there were anything worth reporting, she would have reported it. So we went to bed, expecting to wake up the next morning and face yet another endless day of waiting. Obviously, before I went to sleep, I plugged in my phone, made sure it was working, and turned the volume all the way up. Then I went ahead and just put it on my pillow. Better to err on the side of safety.

August 4, 2014 was a huge letdown. 

But then my phone rang. It was just after 1:00 a.m., early on August 5. My phone rang and it was J. I answered on the first ring.

Hey, Erika? I...I think it might be time. My water broke a few minutes ago. We're on the way to the hospital. I think you and Matt should come.

J, you don't have to tell me twice. We quickly dressed, threw our bags into the car, and kissed Lola goodbye. As we pulled out of the garage, we hoped against hope that we wouldn't pull back into that garage without a baby in the car seat.

August 5, eh. August 5, 2014. I hadn't given much thought to August 5- I'd never thought past August 4, but August 5 was starting to show a lot of promise.

We made it to the hospital in record time, where J had indeed been admitted. We stayed with her in the room for the next 9 hours or so of labor, as family members from all three of our families trickled in and slowly filled up the waiting room. By lunchtime, J was ready to push. It didn't take long.

At 12:23 p.m., Camilla Ann was born. Matt cut her umbilical cord. The nurses weighed her, wiped her off, and upon J's request, handed her to me. 

August 5, 2014. The day another woman made me a mother. My heart (and my eyes) overflows when I consider the depth of her sacrifice and love. 


Tonight I played with my beautiful spitfire of a nearly-toddler. I laughed as I observed the order she chose to eat her dinner in- tonight the sausage and gnocchi and fresh mozzarella got picked first, the cucumbers and tomatoes tossed aside. She played in the bath and screamed when I tried to wipe her snotty nose. She fell asleep during her nightly breathing treatment and we just held her and prayed for her before we laid her in her crib. This child...this long-awaited miracle...she has changed everything. She is the joy of our lives, and being her mother is a gift that I try to never take for granted.

On August 4, 2015, I laid my baby down to sleep. I baked some cupcakes for tomorrow and wrapped some more presents and was just overwhelmed with happiness as I considered the difference a year has made. Tomorrow my Millie turns one. I have been a mother for a year. 

What a glorious, sweet redemption.

Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling...We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Psalm 66:8,9,12