Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jamie is 2!

We had such a good time for Jamie's birthday party this past weekend. Neither Grandma could come as they were just here for Christmas but others who love her were here. I took the day off before the party and had most everything done which made for a stress free day for all. She loved her phone and she also got 2 different MP3 players - one where we can download songs onto it for her. We have already loaded Laurie Berkner, her current musical fave.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We're going live today at 5:00 pm!

Join us today as we celebrate Jamie's 2nd birthday. You see in the photos how much she has changed over one year! The left was taken when she was 11 months old. The right was taken for her Christmas 2007 picture.
We will be broadcasting live today through In the right sidebar you will be able to watch the festivities as we fete our daughter and celebrate a momentus milestone for her and us!

Come on by and join us. I'll try and set up a chat room so you can comment on the party! If time permits there will be commentary and play by play as the babies play. We are looking forward to hearing from you as you celebrate along with us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

DInner out with Aunt Patty & Unka John

We went out the night of one of the big games our team was about to play and it was fun to dress Jamie in her cheerleader togs that Aunt Patty and Unka John got her for Christmas. We don't eat out very often as we are trying to get out from under huge debt and also because eating out with a toddler doesn't always go smoothly. Aunt Patty & Unka John always love to see us (Jamie) so it was great to join them. Here's hoping we have no other major home systems or appliances go out on us for a year or so, so that we can swim up from underneath this debt. My friend who teaches political science at a college in Michigan says getting out of debt is the new American Dream. We don't travel or wear expensive clothes and go out to eat except maybe once a month. We do own two houses (one we rent out) that seem to demand constant expenditures...Heat & Ac goes out, need to replace the oven, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, the plumbing (for both houses!) and soon it will be 2 roofs. I am thankful we didn't take out a home equity home to accomplish any of the constant holes these two money pits put us into. Just put it on credit cards and keep moving to a new card with lower interest. I have managed to keep the debt on cards with very low interest rates so far (3.99, and zero % currently), and hope we can pay it all off before it catches up with us.

So is getting out of debt the New American Dream? What is your American Dream?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Adoption issues

We were so lucky to have adopted Jamie from the foster care system. When we got her she was 4.5 mos old and she was in her second home and had been in the system since birth. The first home she was in was trying to adopt a baby and they preferred a boy. A baby boy came available (His birth parents were getting their rights terminated - he was already in foster care) and in our county the judge always wants the child to be in a preadoptive home when the parents rights are terminated. The family that had Jamie originally had too many under three, so they 'traded' Jamie for the baby boy they wanted to adopt. So at 3 mos of age Jamie was moved to this other home who didn't want to adopt any others. At that point in the process it looked like the birth mom was working on her case plan. We found out about Jamie at that point because I went to the foster/adoptive parents meetings and met a mentor. A lady who was currently fostering one sibling group of four and another child she was hoping to adopt. This wonderful lady knew about Jamie's situation because of the original foster mom being concerned about Jamie's current home. (The concern came in part because the baby boy that had been there had some issues - the back of his head was flat, and his clothes all smelled of smoke etc.) So we found out about Jamie in April, but our license didn't become official until the end of May. 2 days after our license became official Jamie's current foster mom called the agency and said she wanted to stop fostering - that she wanted the two babies she had removed from the home. Since the agency knew we were interested we were the lucky family they called and picked her up that night!

When we picked her up it was apparent that she was scared...poor baby, can you imagine? Some strangers come to get you and you are carried out to the driveway with all of your possessions in a garbage bag. Everything smelled of smoke and of the 6-7 items of clothing only one fit ok but it was long sleeved and too warm for Florida in late May. The back of her head was completely flat and when she woke up in her crib she didnt cry. She would just lay there and wait on someone discovering she was awake. I had been told that I may just want to let her nap in her swing - that "she just loved it", although no swing was sent with her. Also she didn't come with any 'lovey' or soft toys. She had some blocks and beads and a little mirror. That was it...not even some diapers!

Anyway over the next few months Jamie did begin to cry when she woke up in her crib, but her head remains flat. In the first few months she often avoided eye contact but this doesn't seem to be an issue anymore - I guess she has learned to trust. Poor baby... She does still do some 'mommy shopping' - which is when we are in a group of folks Mike and I are often invisible to her. She is more concerned with getting the attention of other adults.

As Jamie just turned two, it is hard to tell what long term issues we might encounter from her adoption experience. Many experts believe even newborns have abandonment issues and can experience attachment disorder issues. I wish we had been the parents that picked her up from the hospital but things worked out the way they were supposed to, of that I am truly convinced.

We finalized her adoption in August of 2007. Here is Jamie on the first weekend in our home- May of 2006.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I blog for comments!

I was told yesterday I needed to 'step it up' with the blogging, that she was (Aunt Patty) was coming daily to check and there wasn't any fresh content. Well I do the same thing, I come to the blog to see who has visited and what they commented on. Not very many comments. Hmmm, maybe I need to be more interesting? or post more often? Or both!? But as I stated above "I blog for comments!' If you come here, please take a minute and say hey!

Here are some of the recent pictures from Christmas.

Here is the photo I was allowed to take with my camera (she was a bit scared of Santa):

Here is the photo they took with their props and funny faces:

Now Jamie wants to see the Santa! photo anytime I am on the laptop. Guess we need to scan, print and laminate her her own copy of it. I am not sure which one to do it with as she seems to like the one where she is crying.

Here is a family shot with Mikes mom and brother Bruce:

Now for the Christmas Card adventure. Here is the first card we had made before I got the picture I really liked of Jamie in the Black Bodiced dress:

Well they also didn't crop the family shot as I had so I wasn't pleased at all, it was also a bit dark. So I had it redone, not only did they not crop the shots they way I wanted....well look and see.

So, I had to go back to Walmart again and they redid it, but the first time I went I took the pictures on a jump drive which they couldnt the fourth time is the charm!