Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Levi!

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 6 comments
Can you believe it?!  That this little face...

...is now a year old?!

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  I am so excited to share what we have been up to these past few months!  I get so many e-mails from y'all (and I love it), so here are the answers the most frequently asked questions.  And, of course, lots of pictures!

How are we?
Amazing.  We are tired, exhausted, busy.  But SO happy.  Unbelievably happy.  Levi fits in our family so well.  He is active, loud, and loves to play outside.  We love being parents.

How is Levi?
Growing strong.  Eating well.  Babbling.  Mimicking.  He just started walking last week!  He is a high energy child with a lot of spunk.  With lots of spunk comes some tantrums and tears, but also the biggest smiles and laughs you have ever seen.  This kid has PERSONALITY!

How's the bonding?
We have been so blessed.  We prayed and prepared months before Levi for his adjustment.  In Taiwan, we worked on eye contact, laughter, and lots of cuddles.  When we arrived home, no one but Nathan and I held Levi for a full month (not even our parents).  It was hard and we ruffled some feathers, but it was the right move for our family.  I took baths with him, we fed him anytime he wanted, and we did everything we could to build trust and comfort.  If he cried, we picked him up immediately.  We met his every need.  I wore him in a baby carrier and he didn't start school/daycare until I absolutely had to go back to work--and even now, it's part time.  All this, combined with a whole lot of God's love, has helped us attach strongly.  This kid = our heart...and he lights up when we are around too!

Does he sleep through the night?
I get this question a lot, surprisingly!  No, he doesn't ;-)  We've got him down to about one feeding a night, which is SO much better than it was.  For the first couple months, we woke up often.  Levi went through a stage where he only took bottles from me at night, which made things especially difficult.  Slowly, we worked him up to taking bottles from my husband at night too.  We never discouraged his nighttime waking...any time he woke, we fed him and cuddled, to build trust.  We did discourage nighttime playtime by keeping the lights off, our voices low, and refusing to leave the bedroom with him. 

You mentioned co-sleeping in an earlier post.  Was that a part of the plan?
Honestly--no.  Levi's room doubles as the guest room, so we anticipated the possibility of sleeping in that room for the first few weeks, but never in bed with us.  But in Taiwan, babies and toddlers share beds with their parents (no cribs), so we ended up co-sleeping in a hotel.  Levi loved it so much that it brought comfort to him once we were home!  After a couple months, we eased him into his crib, but continue to share a room.  Now that he is one, we plan to make the transition back into our room!  Moral of the story--be flexible--I am so happy we did what we did because it worked so well for our family (but every family is different)!

How did the transition to American food go?
When we brought Levi home, he was 7 months.  In Taiwan, he had formula and baby cereal.  Once home, we switched him to an American formula (with no issues, whew).  Food, however, was another story.  He was not a fan of flavor!  For weeks, we mixed baby purees with the Taiwanese baby cereal, to make it bland.  Eventually, his taste buds adjusted, and now, he is a relatively adventurous eater!  We are adding in solids now, with mixed success.  We have a carb-loving child!  Grits, bread, tortilla, pita, pasta = favorites.  Slowly, he is accepting some healthier options, like bananas, black beans, peas, green beans, fish, blueberries, strawberries, and hummus.  Luckily for us, we have a little chunker, so we try not to worry too much when he rejects a meal or two!

What are you doing for his first birthday?
A small family party...the theme: "Our little sprout is turning one!"  More to come on this.

Do you still have any contact with Taiwan?  What about Levi's birth mother?
We are blessed to say...YES!  We have mailed several batches of pictures.  A small dragon bracelet for our "Year of the Dragon" baby on her birthday.  A photo book and drawing by Levi.  Short notes.  We love hearing from Taiwan and miss it terribly.

And the #1 question we get...are you adopting again?  And if so, when?!
No Comment.  ;-)  But I hope to be answering this soon!  Like...this fall?  And it should be fun.  It might involve a new blog!  I miss y'all.  So...stay tuned!
Kinda lonely in here all by myself, don't you think?
Much love,
Blessed Mama

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's Only the Beginning.

Posted by Angie at 3:47 PM 9 comments
Levi is our greatest adventure. 

I began this blog January 1, 2011. For 2 years now, I have shared our adoption story.  This cozy little corner of the internet has been like a warm chair and a steamy mug of hot chocolate for me.  A place for me to curl up at the end of a day and chat about the highs and lows of the journey to our son.

But the truth is, this is only the beginning of our journey.  Our great adventure.
Our family.

This is a hard post for me to write.  This blog holds my hopes, my dreams, and my heartaches.  Swirling through these pages are a mix of the joy and the pain we carried with us these past years.  But ultimately, this space endeavored to capture one thing...our journey to Levi.

I see so many women I admire in this world.  Some I love face-to-face, others inspire me with words through their own corners of the internet.  Many thrive with wonderful families and a beautiful blog.  I must recognize my limits, though.  Life has always been a juggling act, but now, I have the most precious ball of all to juggle.  I always knew that when this tiny Taiwanese blessing entered my life, some of the balls I juggle would need to be packed away for awhile.  This blog is one of them.  

I thank you for the encouragement over the past 2 years.  I thank you for the patient ears, the kinds words, and the honest stories.  Brooke and I swapped our last "Friends for Adoption" gift in November, stay tuned to her blog for updates there.  Though my writing here will cease, for now, I will not stop reading your blogs, following your stories, praying for your individual journeys.

I don't think this is goodbye forever, though!  Think of it as a "see you later" while we settle into our life as a family of three.  Even though our adoption journey contained challenges, frustration, and heartache...it was worth it.  Worth it.  Worth it times a million, my friends.  And, though we still have many prayers to pray, pennies to save, and days to wait....I will venture a strong prediction, a strong hope, rather, that Levi will not be the only child we adopt.

So don't forget this little corner.  Keep an eye on this little space from time to time.  Because one day, one seemingly ordinary day, we may be announcing that we are expecting another blessing.

Until then, shine on, my readers, my friends, my inspirational people.  Many blessing on your own journeys.

Much love,
Blessed Mama  

Daddy Gift Basket

Posted by Angie at 3:46 PM 0 comments
So, months and months before we even received a referral, I read a little post on The Dating Divas about the days immediately following becoming new parents.  While most of it is geared towards babies entering the world the old fashion way, I did see one idea that I just loved: making a "New Daddy" basket.

And so, once we got our referral, I immediately began gathering items for a basket for my husband.  I bought them slowly, about once a week, so the papa-to-be didn't notice the extra charges.  Once we got back from Taiwan, I gave it to him. 

Here is what was inside:
Caffeinated Soda (we never kept it around the house...until now!)
Heavy Duty paper plates...oooh...the good stuff
His Favorite Candy
Comfortable new pajama pants
Bottle of Migraine Medicine ;-)
Onesie for Levi that says "This is my rocking out t-shirt" since hubby plays the bass

Right before my husband had "daddy duty" alone for the first time, Levi and I tossed it all together on the bed.  It was a nice little surprise for him to discover while I was away.  Side note...for those adopting older babies...the Ergo Sport Carrier = LOVE for us!

Much love,
Blessed Mama
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